Electromagnetic therapy for treating pressure ulcers.

Zoriah Aziz, Kate Flemming, Nicky A. Cullum, Alireza Olyaee Manesh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Pressure ulcers are defined as areas "of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by pressure, shear, friction and/or the combination of these". Electromagnetic therapy (EMT), in which electrodes produce an electromagnetic field across the wound, may improve healing of chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers. To assess the effects of EMT on the healing of pressure ulcers. For this update we searched the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (2 June 2010); the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 2); Ovid MEDLINE (2007 to May Week 3 2010); Ovid EMBASE (2007 to Week 21 2010) and EBSCO CINAHL (2007 to 1 June 2010). Randomised controlled trials comparing EMT with sham EMT or other (standard) treatment. For this update two review authors independently scrutinised the results of the search to identify relevant RCTs and obtained full reports of potentially eligible studies. We made attempts to obtain missing data by contacting study authors. A second review author checked data extraction and disagreements were resolved after discussion between review authors. We identified no new trials for this update.Two randomised controlled trials (RCTs), involving 60 participants, at unclear risk of bias were included in the original review. Both trials compared the use of EMT with sham EMT, although one of the trials included a third arm in which only standard therapy was applied. Neither study found a statistically significant difference in complete healing in people treated with EMT compared with those in the control group. In one trial that assessed percentage reduction in wound surface area, the difference between the two groups was reported to be statistically significant in favour of EMT. However, this result should be interpreted with caution as this is a small study and this finding may be due to chance. Additionally, the outcome, percentage reduction in wound area, is less clinically meaningful than complete healing. The results provide no strong evidence of benefit in using EMT to treat pressure ulcers. However, the possibility of a beneficial or harmful effect cannot be ruled out because there were only two included trials, both with methodological limitations and small numbers of participants. Further research is recommended.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)CD002930
    JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online : Update Software)
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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