Author(s): Szuminsky NJ, Albers AC, Unger P, Eddy JG
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: High-voltage pulsed current (HVPC) has been used to promote the healing of decubitus ulcers and surgical wounds. The benefits of HVPC are thought to include an antimicrobial action. This study was undertaken to explore the development of an in vitro system for the systematic evaluation of the effects of HVPC. METHODS: Using agarose-based media, the system allows for examination of the direct effect of HVPC on microorganisms as well as exploration of the possible in situ generation of bacteriostatic or bactericidal factors by the action of HVPC on constituents of the media. The solid media also allow characterization of the spatial extent of the current's effects such as changes in temperature or pH. The system was used to examine the effects of HVPC on four different species of bacteria: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. RESULTS: Both direct and indirect bactericidal effects were observed at either the positive or negative electrode, or both, for each of the organisms, although zones of inhibition varied. Temperature and pH were examined as possible mechanisms for the indirect effect. Temperature changes observed during the application of HVPC were minimal and did not contribute to the antimicrobial effect. Extreme pH changes did not appear to be the major cause of the indirect effect because the zones of inhibition observed were generally larger than the zones of extremely acid or basic pHs. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: High-voltage pulsed current produced antimicrobial effects in this in vitro study. Additional studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms and to determine whether the mechanisms occur in vivo.
This article was published in Phys Ther
and referenced in Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy