Objectives: Edema in partial-thickness burn wounds can decrease tissue perfusion, increase tissue ischemia, and deepen the burn injury. We report the results of a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of a hydro-conductive dressing to our standard burn dressing at removing edema fluid from partial-thickness burns and present the proposed mechanisms of action of the hydroconductive dressing. Methods: An internally controlled comparison of two wound dressings was performed on 10 patients with non-contiguous partial-thickness burns. Each patient served as his/her own control. One burn was treated with our standard burn dressing and the other with hydroconductive dressing. Dressings were weighed prior to application, removed at 24 and 48 hours, weighed, and new pre-weighed dressings applied. Weight gain of each dressing at 24 and 48 hours was determined. Statistics were applied using the Student’s paired T-test. The VAS pain scale was measured prior to, during, and after each dressing change. Results: At 24 hours, the hydroconductive dressing had increased 85.6% ± 29.3% in weight compared with 61.3% ± 32.7% for the control (P = 0.053). For the second 24 hour period, the respective numbers were statistically significantly different at 59.7% ± 23.4% vs. 34.2% ± 19.1% (P = 0.038). Averaging the weight gain over the two dressing periods demonstrated that the differences were highly statistically significant as the hydroconductive dressing increased in weight by 71.0% ± 20.3% compared with 44.5% ± 17.4% for the gauze dressing (P = 0.005). VAS scores revealed no statistical differences. Mechanisms of action included capillary, hydroconductive, and electrostatic actions. Conclusions: A hydroconductive dressing designed to draw off excessive wound fluid removes more wound edema fluid than standard burn gauze dressings.
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