Negative pressure wound therapy —does it affect quality of life?
01/11/12 | Leg Ulcers, Wellbeing and concordance | Karen Ousey, Leanne Cook, Jeanette Milne
Background: To critically review, appraise and evaluate the available literature with regard to the impact that negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has on the quality of life reported by patients. Methods: A systematic review was undertaken using Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL databases. Publications between 1950 and 2011 were included and all relevant papers were reviewed irrespective of the data collection method if they reported the use of NPWT and patient-reported quality of life data. Abstracts were read for relevance and to determine if the studies met the predetermined inclusion criteria. Once vetted, full copies of the papers were obtained and two reviewers independently completed a pre-set data collection form that was then sent to the third reviewer to enable central collation and establish the themes reported. Data queries were checked and consensus achieved by discussion. Results: Only five studies met the inclusion criteria, all had methodological flaws, and are of small sample sizes. While there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that NPWT has advantages in reducing healing times as opposed to the use of conventional therapy, there is very little evidence to support the use of NPWT in relation to its impact on patient reported quality of life from either a positive, neutral or negative perspective. Conclusion: It is clear from the review that more studies need to be undertaken in this area of practice before any clear consensus can be achieved. Until such time, practitioners working in the field will have to continue to assess patients on an individual basis by giving information about the therapy with the aim that the patient can make an informed choice about the impact that NPWT may have on their individual quality of life.