Electric Bandages Prevent Wound Infections

Electric Bandages Prevent Wound Infections

One of the biggest problems in medicine, and one which has potential to become a worldwide health crisis, is bacterial resistance to antibiotics. When our antibiotics cease to be effective, treating something as simple as a wound could be all but impossible, at least with drugs.

When a wound gets infected and antibiotics are not effective, the patient has to deal with pain and inflammation; however, if the bacteria get into the blood stream it can lead to sepsis and death. Even when antibiotics are used not all bacteria will be killed, which can hamper the healing process.

Oftentimes slow wound healing is due to bacteria forming a biofilm over the wound. Biofilms are created when bacteria signal to each other and clump together and form a protective coating over the wound. The biofilm prevents antibiotics from working and hampers the body’s immune response.

Researchers at Ohio State University may have come up with one such solution that can be used to treat wounds, which helps to prevent the formation of a biofilm over the wound. The new technique does not involve any antibiotics. The treatment involves the use of a special wireless electroceutical dressing:  electric bandages.

The electric bandages are fabric based, and are coated with silver and zinc dots. When the dressing becomes moist from sweat or fluids oozing from the wound, the dressing becomes electrically active. The electric bandages do not need an external power supply, as they generate their own electric field.

That electric field is sufficient to disrupt the ability of the bacteria to communicate with each other, and by doing so, the electric bandages prevent the formation of a biofilm. In tests on pigs, the dressing was found to prevent the formation of biofilm, while pigs receiving a placebo dressing had a biofilm form over their wound.

The wound dressings are manufactured by Vomaris, which was a partner in the research. The dressings have been scheduled for a clinical trial on human burn victims, and the dressings have already received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of bed sores, surgical wounds and diabetic ulcers.

The study – Electric Field Based Dressing Disrupts Mixed-Species Bacterial Biofilm Infection and Restores Functional Wound Healing – has recently been published in the journal Annals of Surgery.