Level 4

Discovering tools for wound assessment

Evaluating the 2015 WoundsUk posters  revealed that the most used inclusion criteria to match a patient to any intervention were A. “stalled” wound healing or B “suitability” of the patient; not exactly an exact approach.

Of course we have Time, Wagner etc etc. But these are based upon “superficial” examination. Even after assessment there are patients who do not follow expectations. This is because they describe the current state of the wound but only partially. They do not describe what is causing a delay in healing. I would love to have the possibility to look under the hood and  have some more clues about what is happening in the wound healing process. It is amazing we do not have a standard set of parameters which will help us assess the gravity of the wound.

Luckily medical science is more than wound care so it makes sense to look for progress in other fields.  Here are some thoughts.

The first idea is to do an immuno assay. Recently, application of mass cytometry in patients undergoing hip arthroplasty revealed strong immune correlatesm_cover of surgical recovery in blood samples collected shortly after surgery. In the study below it is shown that the Immune correlates identified in presurgical blood samples mirrored correlates identified in postsurgical blood samples. Hence the immune status can predict the recovery. I think it is worth while to see if this also has an effect on wound healing.

And there are more factors worth investigating to assess the chronicity of a given wound. Another example may be serum albumin. Which not only reflects the nutritional status of a patient but also has a link to IL6 and TNFα. See and it already has an application in DFU and in and distal bypass surgery 

or as we see here, simply collecting basic parameters may already provide some clues.

And this is all old techniques, imagine what we may find with some of the newer analytic techniques.

All in all, discovering parameters is not rocket science but we have not done it yet so it is time to do it.


Straight Talk Tuesday; Caroline Fife

Carolyne Fife demonstrates in her columns “the horror of providing wound care”. In two blogs (below) she describes the impact the apparent low stature of wound healing has. Basically; the lack of underpinning of interventions leads to a dramatic reduction of funding. As it should. However, in the case of wound care the lack of underpinning is not a result of lack of efficacy but a lack of research outcomes. So here the reduction of funding is a result of the dysfunction of research. The cause is very simple; having a wound is generally regarded a complication and therefore not interesting. Sadly society and (have to say) most doctors are not interested, lack knowledge, do no research and are astoundingly unaware of the numbers. As a result, the science of wound healing is under-represented and under-developed in the medical profession. (Why don’t we have regeneration specialists? ) Therefore, even if Caroline would have generated data and healed patients (which should not be the same) we still lack a proper framework to translate findings in a wider context. This would be no problem if having a wound was a rare phenomenon. But it is not, wounds lead to massive human suffering and consume a relatively big part of health care spending. But the latter is a financial issue. Luckily the financial guru’s know that if you cut the budget the cost will go down, as simple as that. Doctors agree and push the patients out of their budget (back to home care) asap. The fact that budget cuts cause massive suffering (but numbers do not cry or die) and that the costs resurface somewhere else in the system in a 10-fold time or so is not interesting because that is NIMB-cost. (Not In My Budget) And since 2008 we all know who pays for the final NIMB budget.

The second blog mentioned is below. Is this what you get when one applies regulations instead of knowledge: if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail? Is this the future of EU healthcare funding?

Level 4

Finding your way around the human metabole

Wound care gets very interesting if you move away from casual observations or intervention comparisons. This has become easier the last decade, especially the “omic-type” diagnostic tools allow for analysis of large and complex systems. This enables us to move away from the trial and error type of research and look in depth into the wound. In general wound care articles mention genes or proteins.  Since genes and proteins are a major part of processes regulation in the body it makes sense to unravel the way they operate in regenerating tissue.  Freely quoting Goethe: All living things are connected if you do not see the connection you have not looked good enough. So we should be able to connect the dots, amongst others by reading literature or doing research. The knowledge in literature is fragmented. Luckily there are tools available to explore the context of the information:  The site reactome shows how the processes at a basic level are organised and thus allows us to connect at least some of the dots. The plug in ferret  provides depth and backround to the articles in pubmed etc. Both are tools for our endeavour to understand the incoherence of current wound care research.