An open comparative randomised study comparing the performance of hydrocolloid dressings (DuoDERM CGF) to saline gauze dressings in the treatment of pressure ulcers was done to evaluate the overall dressing performance, wound healing and cost effectiveness. Thirty-four subjects were enrolled at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur over a 643 days period. Inclusion criteria were Stage II or III pressure ulcers, at least 18 years of age and written informed consent. Only one pressure ulcer per subject was enrolled in the study. Patients with infected pressure ulcers, diabetes mellitus, an immuno-compromised status and known sensitivity to the study dressings were excluded. Subjects who met the enrollment criteria were randomised to one of the two dressing regimes. They were expected to participate in the study for a maximum of eight weeks or until the pressure ulcer healed, which ever occurred first. Overall subject age averaged 58 years and the mean duration of pressure ulcer existence was about 1 month. Twenty-one of the thirty-four ulcers enrolled were stage II and thirteen were stage III. The majority of the ulcers (88%) were located in the sacral area and seventeen subjects (50%) were incontinent. In the evaluation of dressing performance in terms of adherence to wound bed, exudate handling ability, overall comfort and pain during dressing removal; all favoured the hydrocolloid dressing by a statistically significant margin (p < 0.001). Subjects assigned the hydrocolloid dressing experienced a mean 34% reduction from their baseline surface area measurement compared to a mean 9% increase by subjects assigned gauze dressings. This was not statistically significant (p = 0.2318). In cost evaluation of the study products, there was no statistical significance in the total cost of wound management per subject. When only labour time and cost was evaluated, there was a statistically significant advantage towards hydrocolloid dressings.
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