Liverpool’s Spire Hospital is using a new technology to heal chronic wounds.
Around 200,000 people at any one time suffer from chronic wounds which have difficulty healing, costing the NHS around £2.3b–£3.1bn per year (Posnett and Franks, 2008).
A new technology is now being used by Spire which uses a pump to seal the wound in an air tight dressing then applies negative pressure to the wound underneath, all speeding up the healing process.
John Davidson, consultant and chairman and Liverpool’s Spire Hospital said: “None healing chronic wounds are a major issue for patients and the health services. At Spire Hospital we are now using a state of the art technology calling the PICO system. The size of a mobile phone, PICO is a small pump which seals the dressing around the wound then applies a constant negative pressure to the surface of the wound. This negative pressure drains excess fluid but also encourages blood flow and thus speeds up the healing process.”
The use of pumps to apply negative pressure to wounds has been used by some health services before, but in the past these patients would have to stay in hospital and the pumps were far less mobile. The PICO system uses a tiny pump which means patients can have the dressing applied to the wound then be released immediately. Patients can then carry on as normal, with the PICO pump in their pocket maintaining the air tight dressing and negative pressure until the wound heals.
Mr Alasdair Santini, orthopaedic surgeon at Spire said: “In the past patients with chronic wounds often had to return to theatre on numerous times to have their wounds debrided and many required some sort of plastic surgery, such as a skin graft, to eventually close their wound. The PICO system can reduce the need for numerous returns to theatre and in many cases prevent the need for a graft.”
Mr Davidson added: “This is a great piece of technology which has the potential to help many patients in Liverpool.”