Evidence-based recommendations for the use of negative pressure wound therapy in chronic wounds: Steps towards an international consensus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Aim: Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) has become widely adopted over the last 15 years and over 1000 peer-reviewed publications are available describing its use. Despite this, there remains uncertainty regarding several aspects of usage. In order to respond to this gap a global expert panel was convened to develop evidence-based recommendations describing the use of NPWT. In this communication the results of the study of evidence in chronic wounds including pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), venous leg ulcers (VLU), and ischaemic lower limb wounds are reported. Methods: Evidence-based recommendations were obtained by a systematic review of the literature, grading of evidence, drafting of the recommendations by a global expert panel followed by a formal consultative consensus development program in which 422 independent healthcare professionals were able to agree or disagree with the recommendations. The criteria for agreement were set at 80% agreement. Evidence and recommendations were graded according to the SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) classification system. Results: The primary treatment goal of NPWT in most chronic wounds is to achieve wound closure (either by secondary intention or preparing the wound for surgical closure). Secondary goals commonly include: to reduce wound dimensions, and to improve the quality of the wound bed. Thirteen evidence based recommendations were developed in total to address these treatment goals; 4 for pressure ulcers, 4 for DFU, 3 for ischaemic lower limb wounds and 2 for VLU. Conclusion: The present evidence base is strongest for the use of NPWT in non-ischaemic DFU and weakest in VLU. The development of evidence-based recommendations for NPWT with direct validation from a large group of practicing clinicians offers a broader basis for consensus than work by an expert panel alone. (c) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Tissue Viability Society.


  • S. Vig
  • C. Dowsett
  • L. Berg
  • C. Caravaggi
  • P. Rome
  • H. Birke-Sorensen
  • A. Bruhin
  • M. Chariker
  • M. Depoorter
  • R. Dunn
  • F. Duteille
  • F. Ferreira
  • J. M. Francos Martinez
  • G. Grudzien
  • D. Hudson
  • S. Ichioka
  • S. Jeffery
  • E. Krug
  • C. Lee
  • N. Runkel
  • R. Martin
  • J. Smith
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Ophthalmology
  • Surgery


  • Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT), Consensus, Recommendations, Systematic review, Chronic wounds, Pressure ulcers, Diabetic foot, ulcers, Ischaemic ulcers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S18
JournalJournal of Tissue Viability
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch