A portable pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) device to enhance healing of recalcitrant venous ulcers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Authors

  • M.J. STILLER,

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
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  • GRACE H. PAK,

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
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  • J.L. SHUPACK,

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
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  • S. THALER,

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
    2. Geomed, Inc., 603 Chestnut St, Garden City, NY 11530, U.S.A.
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  • CLARE KENNY,

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
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  • LORRIE JONDREAU

    1. The Ronald O.Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center, Dermatopharmacology Section and Leg Ulcer Clinic, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
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  • Presented in part at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, Seattle WA, May 1 1991, and published as an abstract (Journal of Investigative Dermatology 1991; 96: 570, and Clin. Research 1991; 39: 509A).

Abstract

Summary A prospective, randomized, double-bind, placebo-controlled multicentre study assessed the clinical efficacy and safety of pulsed electromagnetic limb ulcer therapy (PELUT) in the healing of recalcitrant, predominantly venous leg ulcers. The portable device was used at home for 3 h daily during this 8-week clinical trial as an adjunct to a wound dressing. Wound surface area, ulcer depth and pain intensity were assessed at weeks 0, 4 and 8. At week 8 the active group had a 47.7% decrease in wound surface area vs. a 42.3% increase for placebo (P<0.0002). Investigator's global evaluations indicated that 50% of the ulcers in the active group healed or markedly improved vs. 0% in the placebo group, and 0% of the active group worsened vs. 54% of the placebo group (P<0.001). Significant decreases in wound depth (P<0.04) and pain intensity (P<0.04) favouring the active group were seen. Patients whose ulcers improved significantly after 8 weeks were permitted to continue double-blind therapy for an additional 4 weeks. Elevan active and one placebo patient continued therapy until week 12, with the active treatment group continuing to show improvement. There were no reports of adverse events attributable to this device. We conclude that the PELUT device is a safe and effective adjunct to non-surgical therapy for recalcitrant venous leg ulcers.

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