Chronic wounds don’t heal, or heal slowly, because an underlying defect impedes local blood flow to the wound site and hinders the body’s natural wound healing processes. These types of wounds may never heal, or take years to heal, causing patients severe emotional and physical stress and creating a significant financial burden on patients and the whole healthcare system.
Several factors can contribute to chronic wounds, including:
A major cause of chronic wounds is diabetes, which is increasing in prevalence. Diabetes causes neuropathy, which inhibits nociception and the perception of pain. Thus, patients may not initially notice small wounds to legs and feet, and may therefore fail to prevent infection or repeated injury. Further, diabetes causes immune compromise and damage to small blood vessels, preventing adequate oxygenation of tissue, which can cause chronic wounds. Pressure also plays a role in the formation of diabetic ulcers.
Venous ulcers usually occur in the legs and mostly affect the elderly. They are thought to be due to venous hypertension caused by improper function of valves that exist in the veins to prevent blood from flowing backward. This dysfunction causes ischemia that, combined with reperfusion injury, leads to tissue damage and wounds.
Pressure ulcers usually occur in people with conditions, such as paralysis, that inhibit movement of body parts commonly subjected to pressure—including heels, shoulder blades, and the sacrum. Pressure ulcers are caused by ischemia that occurs when pressure on the tissue is greater than the pressure in capillaries, restricting blood flow into the area. Muscle tissue, which needs more oxygen and nutrients than skin does, shows the worst effects from prolonged pressure. As in other chronic ulcers, reperfusion injury damages tissue.
ActiGraft is the first wound care product that enables health care providers to produce—in real time—in vitro blood clots from a patient’s whole blood. This innovative solution brings the patient’s blood to the site of the chronic wound to initiate and promote the healing process.