Early-Stage Management of Complex Wounds Using Negative Pressure Wound Therapy With Instillation and a Dressing With Through Holes

Mary Anne Obst, RN, BSN, CWON, CCRN; Jane Harrigan, RN, BSN, CWON; Aaron Wodash, BS, RN, CWON, CFCN; Stina Bjurstrom, RN, BSN, CWON


Wounds. 2019;31(5):E33-E36. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Introduction: An early-stage decision clinicians often make in the management of complex wounds is which method of wound preparation will be appropriate for the patient. This decision can be affected by numerous wound and patient risk factors that present challenges and may make surgical debridement difficult in patients with complex wounds. Recently, negative pressure wound therapy with instillation and dwell time (NPWTi-d) using a novel reticulated open-cell foam dressing with through holes (ROCF-CC) was shown to aid in the loosening and removal of thick exudate and nonviable tissue from wounds.

Objective: The authors present their experiences of using NPWTi-d with ROCF-CC, along with rationales for wound care decisions.

Materials and Methods: Patients received antibiotics and surgical debridement when appropriate. Therapy selection and parameters were based on a decision-tree model for wound care management that takes into consideration patient and wound information. Most patients received NPWTi-d with ROCF-CC for a duration of 5 to 8 days; however, 1 patient received NPWTi-d with ROCF-CC for more than 30 days due to the wound extent and severity. Therapy consisted of instilling saline or quarter-strength sodium hypochlorite solution with dwell times of 3 to 10 minutes, followed by 2 hours or 3.5 hours of NPWT either at -100 mm Hg or -125 mm Hg.

Results: There were 6 patients (3 men, 3 women; average age, 58.5 years) treated. Wound types included 3 pressure ulcers, 1 necrotizing soft tissue infection, 1 perianal abscess, and 1 large abdominal wound. Patient comorbidities included obesity, type 2 diabetes, and radiation therapy. In all cases, progression of wound healing was observed with no complications. This method produced viable granulation tissue and wound bed preparation; however, patients were not followed to closure or grafting.

Conclusions: These cases help support the use of NPWTi-d with ROCF-CC as a viable option for wound care providers in the early-stage management of complex wounds.


Numerous wound healing risk factors (eg, wound size and duration, etiology, anatomical location, and wound infection) and patient-related risk factors (eg, advanced age, nutritional status, vascular disease, and diabetes) are known to complicate and delay wound healing.[1,2] It is recognized that wounds respond better when debrided early; however, comorbidities and/or wound size may make surgical debridement impossible for some patients.

Recently, negative pressure wound therapy with instillation and dwell time (NPWTi-d) using a reticulated open-cell foam dressing with through holes (ROCF-CC) was shown to aid in wound cleansing by loosening and removing thick exudate and nonviable tissue from wounds.[3] Therefore, NPWTi-d using ROCF-CC may provide clinicians an option for wound management in patients who are unwilling or not good candidates for surgical debridement.

The objectives of this study were to present the authors' rationales for early-stage wound care decisions and present their initial experience applying NPWTi-d using a ROCF-CC to help manage complex wounds.