Made EasyV.A.C.Via™ Therapy Made Easy - Products for Practice

V.A.C.Via™ Therapy Made Easy - Products for Practice

Products | Stephen-Haynes J, Woodrow T, Wharton S

V.A.C.Via™ Therapy Made Easy - Products for PracticeNegative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has been used traditionally in acute care settings for more than 15 years, and more recently, within primary care. However, the need to make appropriate funding arrangements, has often led to a disruption in therapy during transfer of the patient from the acute setting to primary care. The availability on Drug Tariff of the V.A.C.Via™ Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System (KCI) ­— a new off-the-shelf, disposable NPWT device — has revolutionised financial planning across acute and primary services, minimising delay at discharge. This can help to mobilise patients earlier and shorten the length of their hospital stay, reducing overall treatment costs. Additionally, V.A.C.Via™ Therapy can be commenced in the community and may negate the need for hospital admission.

What is V.A.C.® Therapy?
Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) also known as topical negative pressure (TNP) or vacuum-assisted closure (V.A.C.® Therapy, KCI) has been used in wound care since 1997 (Argenta and Morykwas, 1997; EWMA, 2007; WUWHS, 2008), when the first device was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing in the USA.

V.A.C.® Therapy is the most established negative pressure system and uses a vacuum to create continuous or intermittent negative pressure at the wound bed to remove fluid, exudate and infectious materials as well as stimulating perfusion and new tissue growth (WUWHS, 2008) (Box 1).

What is V.A.C.Via™ therapy?
The V.A.C.Via™ Therapy unit is a new single-patient use, disposable NPWT system that uses a one-button operating system. The simple interface allows the user to select the pressure setting and therapy mode, and to turn the therapy on.

The device is portable, lightweight (it weighs 0.32kg when the canister is empty) and is small in size, allowing it to be worn under clothing, be put into a pocket of a jacket or attached to a belt at the waist using the integral clip. The therapy unit has a 7-day lifespan and includes a rechargeable battery. Replacement therapy units can be purchased to continue therapy for longer than seven days.

Benefits of  V.A.C.Via™ Therapy include:

  •     Offers V.A.C® Therapy in a smaller therapy unit
  •     Allows improved continuity of care between care settings
  •     Patients can receive seven days of therapy at home or in hospital
  •     It is safe and easy to use
  •     It is lightweight and portable
  •     The device is virtually silent and can be worn discretely.

Key features of V.A.C.ViaTM therapy
The V.A.C.Via™ Therapy System incorporates a number of established technologies used for standard V.A.C.® Therapy devices. The unit is compatible with a new Spiral GranuFoamTM Dressing, which has the same hydrophobic structure of conventional GranuFoamTM. This helps to promote granulation in the wound bed through microdeformation of cells. It can be cut and adapted to fit the contours of the wound before applying the drape to seal the wound.

V.A.C.Via™ Therapy also incorporates SensaT.R.A.C.™ Technology. This intelligent system continually measures pressures at the wound site and automatically compensates for pressure variances due to changes in the patient's position, movement and level of exudate (McNulty et al, 2010). This maintains the prescribed level of pressure at the wound site.

In patients with diabetic foot wounds, SensaT.R.A.C.™ Technology is important in preventing a pressure drop where there is a vertical height difference between the location of the dressing (foot) and the position of the therapy unit (waist). The main unit also provides safety alarms that alert clinicians if the target pressure is not maintained or there is a blockage in the tubing.
In addition, V.A.C.Via™ Therapy incorporates several innovative technologies that have been specially developed for this device.



Dynamic Pressure Control Therapy
V.A.C.Via™ Therapy delivers continuous sub-atmospheric pressure (-75mmHg or -125mmHg) or Dynamic Pressure Control™  (DPC) Therapy. DPCTM Therapy offers intermittent therapy in six minute cycles that rotates between the target pressure (either -75mmHg or-125mmHg) and a minimum low level of negative pressure (-25mmHg). The action of keeping the pressure above 0mmHg between negative pressure cycles helps reduce any discomfort associated with foam dressing expansion and helps to prevent dressing leakage, which can occur in the absence of negative pressure. The continuous mode should be used for the first 48 hours in all wounds, as recommended in the therapy guidelines.

Vortis Pump Technology
This acoustic resonance pump harnesses sound waves at a frequency inaudible to most humans, allowing therapy to be applied almost silently. The pump is smaller than a £2 coin and each unit contains two pumps.

When is V.A.C.Via therapy indicated?
The V.A.C.Via™ Therapy System is designed for low to moderately exuding wounds, including:
    Sub-acute and dehisced wounds
    Venous leg, diabetic foot and pressure ulcers
    Flaps and grafts
    Small to moderate acute wounds prior to definitive closure.

Although V.A.C.Via™ Therapy is ideal for use in low to moderately exuding wounds, it incorporates a 250ml canister, which means it can be used on small wounds with high levels of exudate, e.g. over a skin graft in patients with lymphoedema following excision of a lesion. 

V.A.C.Via™ Therapy can also be used as a temporising dressing to maintain a sealed, clean environment prior to definitive closure in lower limb trauma. This allows the patient to be discharged home and readmitted for surgery at a later date.

For large wounds, treatment with a standard NPWT device should be considered to reduce the wound size and reapproximate the wound edges prior to the use of V.A.C.Via™ Therapy.

Key considerations in choosing V.A.CVia™ Therapy over standard NPWT include:

  •     Wounds that are small and less complex
  •     Patient can be mobilised early
  •     Suitability for discharge home
  •     To prevent admission to hospital.

As an off-the-shelf product, V.A.CVia™ Therapy can also allow early initiation of NPWT, which may be associated with a shorter length of hospital stay (Baharestani et al, 2008).