PICO: Helping Wounds Heal Faster

What can start out as a small wound after surgery can lead to infections and even death.

In fact, every year about 500,000 patients in the U.S. develop surgical site infections, which claim more than 10,000 lives. Now a new simple treatment for wounds can help heal them before they have a chance to kill.

Even walking short distances used to be too much for Delores Gray.

"I couldn't walk a half a block without having to stop; my leg would ache so bad," says Delores Gray who had surgery for blocked artery.

She'd had surgery before for a blocked artery, but a new blockage meant another surgery.

"The first time, the one side, took forever to heal," says Delores.

But this time around doctors used a new wound healing therapy known as PICO. PICO is a hand-held pump, which works by sealing an advanced airtight dressing around the wound.

"That actually draws the exudate or the fluid from the wound away from the wound," says Vascular Surgeon Victor D'Addio, MD, at Mary Washington Hospital.

The negative pressure also encourages blood flow, speeding up the healing process.

"And so a week after their surgery, their wound is healed," explains Dr. D’Addio.

Robert Stull just had surgery five days ago.

Victor D'Addio, MD
"This is such a simple, easy dressing to use that it's revolutionary," explains Dr. D’Addio.

Getting folks like Robert, back to their lives sooner.

Surgical site infections cost the health care system billions of dollars a year because of longer hospital stays, readmissions, and treatment, making advances in wound care all the more important.


TOPIC: PICO: Helping Wounds Heal Faster
REPORT: MB# 3662

BACKGROUND: The skin is a natural barrier against infection, so any surgery that causes a break in the skin can lead to a postoperative infection. Doctors call these infections surgical site infections (SSIs) because they occur on the part of the body where the surgery took place. If you have surgery, the chances of developing an SSI are about one to three percent. (SOURCE: www.hopkinsmedicine.org )

SYMPTOMS: Any SSI may cause redness, delayed healing, fever, pain, tenderness, warmth, or swelling. These are the additional signs and symptoms for specific types of SSI:
* A wound that is painful, even though it does not look like it should be.
* High or low body temperature, low blood pressure, or a fast heart beat.
* Increased discharge (blood or other fluid) or pus coming out of the wound. The discharge or pus may have an odd color or a bad smell.
* Increased swelling that goes past the wound area and does not go away after five days.
* Wounds that do not heal or get better with treatment.
(SOURCE: www.hopkinsmedicine.org; www.drugs.com/cg/surgical-site-infections)

LATEST MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH: NEGATIVE Pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is used to treat acute and chronic wounds; thus lowering SSIs. A vacuum source creates continuous or intermittent negative pressure inside the wound to remove fluid, exudates, and infectious materials to prepare the wound for healing and closure. NPWT systems consist of a vacuum pump, drainage tubing, a foam or gauze wound dressing, and an adhesive film dressing that covers and seals the wound. New devices, such as PICO, have been added to help wounds heal faster. The revolutionary dressing eliminates canisters, it expands NPWT options and it allows patients to be more mobile. (SOURCE: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices; www.possiblewithpico.com/introduction)

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Chris Gale

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