BACKGROUND: Large randomized controlled trials that evaluate the effects of negative-pressure wound therapy with instillation of a topical solution and dwell time (NPWTi-d) are lacking. There is a need to synthesize existing data across multiple studies to provide a more precise estimate of the clinical effects of NPWTi-d. METHODS: A systematic literature review and a meta-analysis of comparative studies were performed to determine the effects of NPWTi-d versus control therapy in the adjunctive management of complex wounds. Weighted standardized mean difference or odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to pool study and control group results in each publication for analysis. RESULTS: Thirteen studies comprising 720 patients were included in the analysis. Significantly fewer surgical debridements were performed in NPWTi-d patients versus control patients (P = 0.01). Wounds in the NPWTi-d group were ready for closure faster than control wounds (P = 0.03). The odds of reducing bacterial count from baseline in the NPWTi-d group was 4.4 times greater than control group wounds (P = 0.003), and percent reduction of bacterial count in NPWTi-d wounds was evident in all studies that captured that endpoint. There was a significantly shorter length of therapy in NPWTi-d patients versus control patients (P = 0.03). Wounds in NPWTi-d group were 2.39 times more likely to close than control group wounds (P = 0.01). Length of hospital stay was not significantly reduced for NPWTi-d patients compared with that for control patients (P = 0.06). CONCLUSION: Results of this meta-analysis show a positive effect with use of NPWTi-d in various wound types.
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