Vital protection against serious consequences
||Skin is vital. It completes and surrounds us, it provides a protective shield and is the body's foremost barrier against microbial attack. However, it is also fragile, and once punctured or torn, this natural defence is destroyed 1, allowing pathogens to invade the body. Therefore, every break in the skin is potentially serious 2.
The burden of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI)
- Globally HCAIs cost healthcare providers billions of dollars per year. For example the annual cost of HCAIs in Europe is estimated at €13-24 billion per year 3
- HCAIs can increase the length of hospital stay required. In Europe it is estimated that these infections generate approximately 25 million extra bed days of hospital stay per year 3
- HCAIs also contribute to increased patient pain and distress and in the most serious cases can be fatal. Each year in Europe there are an estimated 50,000 deaths which are directly caused by infections and an additional 135,000 deaths to which infections contributed 3
Appropriate woundcare can reduce the burden of HCAI
The importance of woundcare in the prevention and treatment of HCAIs has been recognized globally. For example, the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom has developed woundcare guidelines to support the prevention and treatment of surgical site infections 2 (SSI).
It is now recognized that many dressings such as gauze and non-woven dressings may provide a poor barrier to infection, and could contribute to the burden of HAIs 1. These ‘non-barrier' dressings could exacerbate infection risk by not protecting against the passage of microbes from the patient's surroundings into the wound environment.
Image of gauze taken by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) 4
Image of Mepore™ taken by SEM 4
Image of IV3000* taken by SEM 4
* IV3000 is the top film for OPSITE Post-Op and OPSITE Post-Op Visible
At Smith & Nephew, we believe that when a break occurs in the skin, using a barrier dressing should be the first strategy for the management of wounds.
Smith & Nephew's barrier dressings such as OPSITE Post-Op and OPSITE Post-Op Visible provide an impermeable barrier to bacteria 4,5, including MRSA 5, in addition to offering optimal healing environments. The images below demonstrate the effective protection that Smith & Nephew barrier dressings provide against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa when compared to a non-woven dressing 6.
Images following inoculation with P. Aeruginosa after a 24-hour incubation period
1. Slater M. Does moist wound healing influence the rate of infection? Br J Nursing Tissue Viability Supplement 2008; 17: S4-14.
2. Surgical site infection: prevention and treatment of surgical site infection. Guideline by the National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health. Commissioned by NICE, October 2008. Available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG74FullGuideline.pdf.
3. C Suetens 2005, European Journal of Public Health
4. Smith & Nephew Data on File report 16550
5. Smith & Nephew data on file report 0505004
6. Gunning P et al (2009). In-vitro assessment of bacterial barrier properties of 3 common wound dressings. Poster presentation at Infection Prevention Society Conference, Harrogate, UK
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