Author(s): Bowler PG
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Abstract Wound healing is a complex and highly regulated process that can be compromised by both endogenous factors (pathophysiological) and exogenous factors (micro-organisms). Microbial colonisation of both acute and chronic wounds is inevitable, and in most situations endogenous bacteria predominate, many of which are potentially pathogenic in the wound environment. The risk of wound infection increases as local conditions favour bacterial growth rather than host defence. Consequently a primary objective in wound management is to redress the host-bacterial balance, and this is most effectively achieved by ensuring that the wound is cleared of devitalised tissue and foreign bodies, the bacterial load and inflammation are controlled, and that adequate tissue perfusion is maintained. Although surgical debridement is the most rapid and effective technique for removing devitalised tissue, topical enzymes, moisture-retentive dressings, biosurgical therapy and vacuum therapy have been used as alternative approaches to wound cleansing and preparation. Topical antimicrobial agents continue to be used widely for preventing wound infection and current interest is focused on alternatives to antibiotics, such as antimicrobial moisture-retentive dressings, honey, essential oils and cationic peptides. In addition to the need to control wound microflora, unregulated inflammation caused by both micro-organisms and underlying abnormal pathophysiological conditions is a major factor associated with poor healing in chronic wounds. Consequently, therapeutic strategies that target chronic inflammatory processes are critical to wound progression. The success of future therapies will be dependent on a growing understanding of the pathophysiological processes and the host-bacterial interactions that significantly influence wound healing.
This article was published in Ann Med
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access