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

How to apply V.A.C.Via Therapy

Prior to application:
    A full assessment should be undertaken to establish the patient's age, level of mobility and independent living, as well as address any underlying medical conditions, including glucose control, fluid balance and the provision of adequate analgesia.

    All wounds should be debrided to remove non-viable tissue before use and any infection managed according to local protocols (Henderson et al, 2010).

    Patients should be evaluated for bleeding risk (FDA, 2010), but it is also important that the wound has an adequate blood supply.

Step by step guide to application:

  1. Prepare the wound and apply a barrier film dressing if required to protect the periwound skin.
  2. Apply the Spiral GranuFoam Dressing. Trim foam away from the wound and coil gently (do not pack) into the wound. Do not overlay onto the peripheral wound area as this will hinder wound edge approximation and ensure the dressing sits within the wound margins.
  3. Trim the drape to cover the dressing with a border of at least 3-5cm at the wound edge to allow contact with intact periwound skin. Cut a 2.5cm hole in the drape and place the SensaT.R.A.C.™ Pad on top. Apply light finger pressure to create a good seal.
  4. Engage canister on the back of the therapy unit and press the power button to commence therapy.


How frequently should  the dressings be changed?
For wounds that are not infected, the dressing should be changed once every 48­-72 hours or at least three times per week as the wound reduces in size. Infected wounds may require more frequent dressing changes.

Patients, who are treated at home should not change or remove their own dressings and/or interfere with the therapy settings.

Using the device at home
During the day the therapy unit can be worn beneath clothing. It is recommended that it is plugged in during sleep and placed so that the tubing will not become kinked. The patient may wash or shower with the dressing in place, taking care not to soak the dressing. The tube should be clamped and disconnected from the therapy unit. Although simple to use, patients and carers should have training on how to operate the device safely and recognise any signs and symptoms that require immediate clinical attention.

Patients should be supplied with the instructions for using the device together with the name of the local contact person. A 24-hour helpline, managed in the UK, is available to support patients and carers.

When to stop V.A.C.Via therapy?
Treatment can be stopped when the objective of the treatment has been achieved. The goal of therapy can vary from preparation for surgical closure, healing by secondary intention or bolstering of a skin flap.

What is the evidence for use?
The evidence base for V.A.C.® Therapy is well established both in acute and chronic wounds in adults (WUWHS, 2008), with more than 25 randomised controlled trials published to date.

Acute wounds
The efficacy of early, short-term NPWT in preparing acute wounds for surgical closure has been extensively researched (DeFranzo et al, 2001; Rinker et al, 2008; Kaplan et al, 2009; Stannard et al, 2010). Two studies comparing the effect of V.A.C.® Therapy to moist wound care after partial foot amputation found that more patients healed with V.A.C.® Therapy and/or at a faster closure rate (Armstrong and Lavery, 2005; Armstrong et al, 2007).  More recently, Paola et al (2010) ran two study groups: one investigating the effectiveness of V.A.C.® Therapy in improving graft takes on diabetic foot wounds and the other assessing its effect on infected open minor amputations. The findings of both studies demonstrated that V.A.C.® Therapy results in faster wound bed preparation and closure and improved rates of graft take, compared to standard treatment. 

Chronic wounds
Joseph et al (2000) compared V.A.C.® Therapy with moist wound therapy in 24 patients with chronic, non-healing wounds. This reported a significant reduction in the volume of the wounds treated with V.A.C.® Therapy (66% vs 20%; p<0.0001). In a later study by Vuerstaek et al (2006), the time to healing in 60 leg ulcer patients revealed a shorter healing time for V.A.C.® Therapy when compared with conventional therapy ( 29 vs 45 days).  Blume at al (2008) investigated the efficacy of V.A.C.® Therapy versus advanced moist wound therapy in 342 diabetic foot ulcer patients. A higher percentage of patients achieved wound closure with V.A.C.® Therapy within the 112-day treatment period and fewer amputations were reported.

Cost/benefits of V.A.C.® Therapy
Apelqvist et al (2008) found that the use of NPWT in post-amputation wounds was associated with less resource use and lower overall cost of care compared to moist wound healing. Flack et al (2008) also found that V.A.C.® Therapy was more effective than both traditional and advanced dressings in patients with diabetic foot ulcers, resulting in reduced costs. Patient comfort was also found to be an advantage in those receiving V.A.C.® Therapy (Braakenburg et al, 2006). 

How can I obtain V.A.C.Via™ therapy?
V.A.C.ViaTM Therapy is a purchase model and is not available as a rental device. It is currently available in the UK on Drug Tariff, through wholesalers and direct from the manufacturer. It is supplied as a Starter Kit (containing the therapy unit, one Spiral GranuFoam™ Dressing kit, canister, charger and carrying case) or 7-day kit (containing the therapy unit, three Spiral GranuFoam Dressing kits, two canisters, charger and carry case). Additional dressing kits and canisters are also available.