31 March 2014

230 global experts conclude that surgical site complications may be preventable with Negative Pressure Wound Therapy

Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN), the global medical technology business, announces the conclusion of the 5th International Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) Expert Meeting. About 230 international experts from 30 countries, from Europe, North and South America, Africa, Middle East, Japan and Australia convened in Frankfurt, Germany between 21-22 March. The experts shared new evidence on the mode of action for NPWT and how it can be used to prevent surgical site complications (SSC), including infections.

The Meeting heard initial results of several investigator-initiated studies showing that Smith & Nephew’s PICO, a unique canister-free NPWT system, may reduce the incidence of complications of surgical incisions in high risk patients in the following clinical areas:

Ninety-two percent of the attendees that voted (around 50% of the 226 attendees) thought that results from the use of NPWT over closed incisions were better than with a normal postoperative dressing. Commenting, Professor James Stannard, Professor and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute at the University of Missouri and the first surgeon ever to report a randomised study on the use of incisional NPWT in the prevention of complications, said: 

“Surgical Site Complications, including infections and dehiscences, are costly to both the patient and the healthcare system. In the US about 300,000 Surgical Site Infections are reported every year. This represents 17% of all the healthcare associated infections1 and has an  estimated annual cost of $3.2 to $8.6 billion (between $10,443 and $25,546 per episode)2. The role NPWT can play in preventing infection and other complications is still not fully understood, but there is increasing evidence that it is beneficial from both a patient and cost perspective.”  

Sean Burns, consultant of obstetrics and gynaecology, and Lindsey Bullough, Tissue Viability Nurse from the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in UK, presented a study using the PICO NPWT system as part of a focus on preventing SSI at their institution between December 2011 and January 2014. For women undergoing caesarean section, the incidence of post-surgical infections reduced by 78% (from 12% to 2.6%). The annual cost of surgical site infections to the NHS in England is estimated to be £700M when considering factors such as surgical and pharmalogical interventions, extended hospital stays and re-admissions3.

According to the experts attending the conference, the use of NPWT in preventing the insurgence of post-surgical complications can be considered in patients who have two or more risk factors, including active smoking, diabetes, body mass index above 30, longer surgeries (more than 5 hours), vascular disease, previous history of wound dehiscence, previous radiation or chemotherapy, immunosuppression, and age above 70 years old.

“These International NPWT Expert Meetings have become an ongoing source of the latest knowledge for the surgeons interested in NPWT” says Professor Norbert Runkel, Director of the Department of General Surgery at the Black Forest Hospital, Villingen, and a Professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany. “Attendee feedback following the meeting revealed 95% of the attendees that voted (over 50% of the 226 attendees) will consider reviewing and changing some aspects of their clinical practice. This is why we have the meeting and it is exciting to be connected to an initiative that is advancing the way we treat wounds and prevent costly complications of surgical incisions.”

The International NPWT Expert Meeting and the associated educational activities are supported by the Advanced Wound Management Division of Smith & Nephew. More information about the published NPWT guidelines and the past meetings can be found at http://www.npwtexperts.com




Laura Cameron                                                             +44 (0) 7740 948378
Magellan Communications 

Suzanne Miller                                                            +44 (0) 20 329.059.92
Magellan Communications

About Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business dedicated to helping healthcare professionals improve people's lives. With leadership positions in Orthopaedic Reconstruction, Advanced Wound Management, Sports Medicine and Trauma & Extremities, Smith & Nephew has around 11,000 employees and a presence in more than 90 countries. Annual sales in 2013 were more than $4.3 billion. Smith & Nephew is a member of the FTSE100 (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN).

For more information about Smith & Nephew, please visit our corporate website www.smith-nephew.com, follow @SmithNephewplc on Twitter or visit SmithNephewplc on Facebook.com


Forward-looking Statements

This document may contain forward-looking statements that may or may not prove accurate. For example, statements regarding expected revenue growth and trading margins, market trends and our product pipeline are forward-looking statements. Phrases such as "aim", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "well-placed", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "target", "consider" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from what is expressed or implied by the statements. For Smith & Nephew, these factors include: economic and financial conditions in the markets we serve, especially those affecting health care providers, payers and customers; price levels for established and innovative medical devices; developments in medical technology; regulatory approvals, reimbursement decisions or other government actions; product defects or recalls; litigation relating to patent or other claims; legal compliance risks and related investigative, remedial or enforcement actions; strategic actions, including acquisitions and dispositions, our success in performing due diligence, valuing and integrating acquired businesses; disruption that may result from transactions or other changes we make in our business plans or organisation to adapt to market developments; and numerous other matters that affect us or our markets, including those of a political, economic, business, competitive or reputational nature. Please refer to the documents that Smith & Nephew has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including Smith & Nephew's most recent annual report on Form 20-F, for a discussion of certain of these factors. Any forward-looking statement is based on information available to Smith & Nephew as of the date of the statement. All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to Smith & Nephew are qualified by this caution. Smith & Nephew does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect any change in circumstances or in Smith & Nephew's expectations.

Trademark of Smith & Nephew. Certain marks registered US Patent and Trademark Office.

  1. Berrios-Torres: SSI Toolkit, CDC 
  2. Direct Medical costs of HAI in US Hospitals and the benefits of prevention – R. Douglas Scott II, CDC, March 2009
  3. Surveillance of Surgical Site Infections in NHS Hospitals in England 2012-2013 – Public Health England