Resource utilization and economic costs of care based on a randomized trial of vacuum-assisted closure therapy in the treatment of diabetic foot wounds

Jan Apelqvist, David G. Armstrong, Lawrence A. Lavery, Andrew J M Boulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

113 Scopus citations


Background: To evaluate resource utilization and direct economic costs of care for patients treated with negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT), using the Vacuum-Assisted Closure (V.A.C.) system, compared to standard moist wound therapy (MWT). Methods: A total of 162 diabetic patients with post-amputation wounds (up to the trans-metatarsal level) entered a 16-week, randomized clinical trial. Patients randomized to V.A.C. (n = 77) received therapy with dressing changes every 48 hours. Control patients (n = 85) received standard MWT. Resource utilization, procedures, and direct costs were calculated and analyzed in this post hoc retrospective study. Results: There was no difference between groups for in-patient hospital stay (number of admissions or length of stay). More surgical procedures (including debridement) were required in the MWT group (120 vs 43 NPWT, P <.001). The average number of dressing changes performed per patient was 118.0 (range 12-226) for MWT versus 41 (6-140) for NPWT (P = .0001). The MWT group had 11 (range 0-106) outpatient treatment visits during the study versus 4 (range 0-47) in the NPWT group (P <.05). The average direct cost per patient treated for 8 weeks or longer (independent of clinical outcome) was $27,270 and $36,096 in the NPWT and MWT groups, respectively. The average total cost to achieve healing was $25,954 for patients treated with NPWT (n = 43) compared with $38,806 for the MWT group (n = 33). Conclusion: Treatment of diabetic patients with post amputation wounds using NPWT resulted in lower resource utilization and a greater proportion of patients obtaining wound healing at a lower overall cost of care when compared to MWT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-788
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008



  • Amputation
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Resource utilization
  • Ulcer
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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