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  1. Kaplan, Mark MD
  2. Daly, Darron MS, MHA
  3. Stemkowski, Stephen PhD, MHA


OBJECTIVE: The cost of treating complex traumatic wounds is substantial because of trauma severity, potential for infection, and delayed closure. Negative pressure wound therapy using reticulated open cell foam (NPWT/ROCF) as delivered by Vacuum-Assisted Closure* (KCI Licensing, Inc, San Antonio, Texas) is an established, viable option for treating traumatic wounds. The authors used retrospective data to study the clinical and cost-effective benefits of using NPWT/ROCF early on day 1 or day 2 of treatment for traumatic wounds as compared with using it late (on day 3 or later).


METHODS: Hospital data records from trauma wound patients treated with NPWT/ROCF were retrospectively analyzed. Data were subdivided into 2 groups based on start of treatment. The group of patients treated on day 1 or 2 of their hospital stay was referred to as the early group, and that composed of patients treated on day 3 or later as the late group. Clinical and cost-effective metrics were compared between the 2 groups.


RESULTS: For the early group, 518 patient records were included; 1000 records were reviewed for the late group. Early-group patients had fewer hospital inpatient days (10.6 vs 20.6 days; P < .0001), fewer treatment days (5.1 vs 6.0 days; P = .0498), shorter intensive care unit (ICU) stays (5.3 vs 12.4 days;P < .0001), and higher ICU admission rates (51.5 vs 44.5%; P = .0091) than the late group. Compared with late-group patients, early-group patients had lower total and variable costs per patient discharge ($43,956 vs $32,175; P < .0001 and $22,891 vs $15,805; P < .0001, respectively).


CONCLUSION: Acute-care trauma wound patients receiving early NPWT/ROCF demonstrated significant reductions in length of stay, treatment days, and ICU stay, which resulted in significant reduced patient treatment costs. These results indicate that early intervention with NPWT/ROCF has potential clinical and cost-effective benefits for the treatment of traumatic wounds.