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Abstract

Background

Stringent control of proteolytic activity represents a major therapeutic approach for wound-bed preparation.

Objectives

We tested whether a protease-modulating polyacrylate- (PA-) containing hydrogel resulted in a more efficient wound-bed preparation of venous leg ulcers when compared to an amorphous hydrogel without known protease-modulating properties.

Methods

Patients were randomized to the polyacrylate-based hydrogel (n = 34) or to an amorphous hydrogel (n = 41). Wound beds were evaluated by three blinded experts using photographs taken on days 0, 7 and 14.

Results

After 14 days of treatment there was an absolute decrease in fibrin and necrotic tissue of 37.6 ± 29.9 percentage points in the PA-based hydrogel group and by 16.8 ± 23.0 percentage points in the amorphous hydrogel group. The absolute increase in the proportion of ulcer area covered by granulation tissue was 36.0 ± 27.4 percentage points in the PA-based hydrogel group and 14.5 ± 22.0 percentage points in the control group. The differences between the groups were significant (decrease in fibrin and necrotic tissue P = 0.004 and increase in granulation tissue P = 0.0005, respectively).

Conclusion

In particular, long-standing wounds profited from the treatment with the PA-based hydrogel. These data suggest that PA-based hydrogel dressings can stimulate normalization of the wound environment, particularly in hard-to-heal ulcers.