ARRA IMPACT REPORT:
Public Health Burden
over 6 million cases of chronic wounds in the United States annually, at a
collective cost of more than $20 billion per year. Included in this category are
diabetic wounds that may result in amputation and pressure wounds like bedsores.
Wounds from severe burns are also an important health issue, leading to 40,000
hospitalizations, 25,000 visits to specialty burn units, and nearly 4,000
deaths each year.
A major issue in managing wounds is bacterial infection, which can significantly delay healing and prolong human suffering. In addition, wounds from burns change over time as the surrounding tissue undergoes progressive destruction. Examples of ARRA-supported projects include the following:
- Antibacterial Wound Dressing Materials: Researchers are investigating new types of wound dressing materials that can inhibit bacterial growth. They have devised a novel method of imbedding silver, a potent and broad spectrum bacterial growth inhibitor, or the antiseptic agent chlorhexidine, into a one-molecule thick polymer film that can be subsequently incorporated into a variety of wound dressings. 1
- Burn Injuries: In burn injury progression, additional tissue damage occurs adjacent to the initial burn site about 24 hours after the initial trauma. This type of secondary injury was not well understood until recently. Researchers have monitored molecular indicators of tissue status and found that cell death (cellular necrosis) from burns occurs in the first 4 hours following injury. After 24 hours, the cellular necrosis spreads, and a natural process called programmed cell death (apoptosis) also begins at the border of dead and healthy tissue. These results indicate that treatment within 4 hours of burn injury could stop or slow irreversible changes in cells that contribute to progression of tissue damage. 2
Contributing NIH Institutes & Centers
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)