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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


  • Jan Apelqvist
  • David G Armstrong
  • Lawrence A Lavery
  • Andrew J M Boulton
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-788
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch