Wound fluid sampling methods for proteomic studies: A scoping review

Joe Harvey, Kieran T Mellody, Nicky Cullum, Rachel E B Watson, Jo Dumville

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Understanding why some wounds are hard to heal is important for improving care and developing more effective treatments. The method of sample collection used is an integral step in the research process and thus may affect the results obtained. The primary objective of this study was to summarise and map the methods currently used to sample wound fluid for protein profiling and analysis. Eligible studies were those that used a sampling method to collect wound fluid from any human wound for analysis of proteins. A search for eligible studies was performed using MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL Plus in May 2020. All references were screened for eligibility by one reviewer, followed by discussion and consensus with a second reviewer. Quantitative data were mapped and visualised using appropriate software and summarised via a narrative summary. After screening, 280 studies were included in this review. The most commonly used group of wound fluid collection methods were vacuum, drainage or use of other external devices, with surgical wounds being the most common sample source. Other frequently used collection methods were extraction from absorbent materials, collection beneath an occlusive dressing and direct collection of wound fluid. This scoping review highlights the variety of methods used for wound fluid collection. Many studies had small sample sizes and short sample collection periods; these weaknesses have hampered the discovery and validation of novel biomarkers. Future research should aim to assess the reproducibility and feasibility of sampling and analytical methods for use in larger longitudinal studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWound Repair and Regeneration
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2022


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