Choosing a suitable wound dressing
A 75-year old woman fell over and cut her leg. She presents today with a prescription for Sorbsan Silver dressing (pictured right) for the wound.
You are concerned about the high number of prescriptions you have been seeing for this dressing and decide to review this case.
On inspection, the wound is yellow and sloughy with a low exudate. There are no signs of infection, such as pain, swelling, localised heat or redness. The wound does not smell and is approximately 4cm by 3cm.
Is this dressing appropriate for this patient’s wound?
Appendix 8 in BNF 58 (Wound management products and elasticated garments) explains that Sorbsan Silver dressings are made from calcium alginate fibre and silver. These dressings are highly absorbent so are suitable for use on moderate to heavily exuding wounds, and they promote autolytic debridement in very moist wounds. Because this patient’s wound has a low exudate, it does not require such an absorbent dressing.
The silver ions in the Sorbsan Silver dressing exert an antimicrobial effect in the presence of wound exudate. Antimicrobial dressings containing silver should be used only when there are clinical signs or symptoms of infection. A dressing containing silver is, therefore, not necessary for this wound.
You decide to review the patient’s dressing with her district nurse. Which dressings should you recommend?
According to the table on wound contact material for different types of wounds in Appendix 8, either a hydrogel dressing (eg, ActiFormCool, Hydrosorb) or a hydrocolloid dressing (eg, Comfeel Plus, NuDERM, Granuflex Bordered, Hydrocoll Border) can be used. These dressings will help hydrate this lightly exuding wound.
Adapted from BNF 58 Update, an e-learning module produced by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education and the British National Formulary.
BNF 58 Update is now available at www.cppe.ac.uk
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11008987
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