Vacuum assisted wound closure is simply the application of controlled negative pressure to a wound in an effort to enhance the body?s own defense mechanisms to expedite the wound healing process. Although relatively new in the health care market place, it is quickly making a name for itself as a successful adjunct therapy in the treatment of wounds. The V.A.C. TM technique evolved from a desire to develop a treatment for chronic debilitating wounds. As the successful treatment of chronic, unsalvageable wounds mounted, this treatment expanded to use with sub-acute and acute wounds. Chronic wounds such as stage III and IV pressure ulcers, along with venous, arterial and neuropathic ulcers, have all proven to be appropriate for negative pressure wound therapy. Sub-acute and acute wounds, including dehisced incisions, split thickness meshed skin grafts, and muscle flaps, have also been proven to benefit from vacuum assisted closure.
VACUUM ASSISTED THERAPY Despite what nurses and physicians know about wound healing, chronic wounds continues to be a serious and expensive problem.
Nearly one million Americans develop chronic wounds every year, and treatment costs run into the billions. (Tourtaul & Riesenberg, 1997) These costs will undoubtedly rise as advances in technology prolong the lives of the elderly and those with long-term, debilitating conditions-the population most likely to develop chronic wounds. (Mendez-Eastman, 1998).
One of the newest clinical modalities in the treatment of acute, sub acute, and chronic wounds is Vacuum Assisted Closure (V.A.C.), a trademark of Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (KCI), San Antonio, Texas. The V.A.C. exposes a wound to sub atmospheric (negative) pressure, which applies a controlled force uniformly to all tissues on the inner surface of the wound. This negative pressure increases tissue perfusion while removing wound debris and decreasing possible bacterial contamination. (McCallon, 2000).
Negative pressure wound therapy is...