Healing wounds the high-tech way

83-year-old wound patient, Betty Evans, with Oxleas staff nurse Mandy Baty. The Avance Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) device is on the right of the trolley.
83-year-old wound patient, Betty Evans, with Oxleas staff nurse Mandy Baty. The Avance Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) device is on the right of the trolley.

A dedicated Bexley staff nurse is using a new high-tech piece of kit - which should mean that patients’ wounds will heal quicker and more hygienically.

Mandy Baty, who is based at the medical centre in Lyndhurst Road, Barnehurst, described the new piece of equipment as a real breakthrough. The Advance Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) device, adapted by Molnlycke Healthcare, is a treatment that uses controlled negative pressure, or vacuum, to speed up healing in wounds. It works by drawing excess fluids and infection out of a wound and increases blood flow to newly formed tissue. It also helps a wound dressing stay in firm contact with the wound surface.

Mandy, from Bromley, is treating her first patient with the NPWT unit, which is about half the size of a shoe box. And Mandy said she believes her patient, Betty Evans, from Bexleyheath, is the first person in Kent to have had the new treatment.

Betty, 83, a former bookkeeper at her family’s car showroom business in Belvedere, said she was delighted with the treatment Mandy had given her and that her wound was healing nicely. She said: At first it was very sore and smelly. I didn’t want to leave the house with it. If it hadn’t been for this machine and Mandy’s work I would probably have had to go into hospital.”

Mandy, who has spent all of her nine years in the NHS, working out of the Lyndhurst Road practice, said: “This therapy heals wounds at a quicker rate than conventional dressings.” It works by draining fluid from the wound into a special canister, which means, none of it seeps onto the dressing and so does not touch the patient’s skin. Mandy again: “The Avance therapy reduces bacterial load, increases blood supply, controls odour and reduces infection.”

Another advantage of the Avance system was also highlighted by Mandy. She said that wounds conventionally treated need to have their dressing changed every day, but that the Avance only needs to be checked every third day. This of course means there is less pressure on the workload of busy district nurses – with the obvious financial benefits to the NHS.

Published on 24th June 2011