Heat has been used for centuries because of its positive effects on wound healing (Kloth et al. 2000). Heat when applied to healthy skin causes vasodilation resulting in an increase in blood flow and oxygen delivery to tissues (Rund & Sussman 2007). This has led to a belief by some, that these effects may be beneficial for wounds such as pressure ulcers where perfusion is compromised by pressure (Kloth et al. 2000). Normothermia is the application of controlled levels of radiant-heat energy to a wound (Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine 2000; Kloth et al. 2000).
In a four week controlled trial of fifteen stage III and IV pressure ulcers where almost 50% of the wounds were post SCI, Kloth et al. (2000) reported a 61% reduction in WSA for wounds treated with a normothermic dressing. In the six control wounds treated with standard wound care, there was a 19% reduction in WSA.
There is level 2 evidence (from one prospective controlled trial; Kloth et al. 2001) that normothermic dressings may improve healing of pressure ulcers post SCI.
- Normothermic dressings may improve healing of pressure ulcers post SCI.