Prophylactic low-energy shock wave therapy improves wound healing after vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery: a prospective, randomized trial

Julia Dumfarth, Daniel Zimpfer, Margit Vögele-Kadletz, Johannes Holfeld, Florian Sihorsch, Wolfgang Schaden, Martin Czerny, Seyedhossein Aharinejad, Ernst Wolner, Michael Grimm
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2008, 86 (6): 1909-13

BACKGROUND: Wound healing disorders after vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery increase morbidity and lower patient satisfaction. Low-energy shock wave therapy (SWT) reportedly improves healing of diabetic and vascular ulcers by overexpression of vascular endothelial growth fractor and downregulation of necrosis factor kappaB. In this study, we investigate whether prophylactic low-energy SWT improves wound healing after vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

METHODS: One hundred consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery were randomly assigned to either prophylactic low-energy SWT (n = 50) or control (n = 50). Low-energy SWT was applied to the site of vein harvesting after wound closure under sterile conditions using a commercially available SWT system (Dermagold; Tissue Regeneration Technologies, Woodstock, GA). A total of 25 impulses (0.1 mJ/mm(2); 5 Hz) were applied per centimeter wound length. Wound healing was evaluated and quantified using the ASEPSIS score. (ASEPSIS stands for Additional treatment, presence of Serous discharge, Erythema, Purulent exudate, Separation of the deep tissue, Isolation of bacteria, and duration of inpatient Stay). Patient demographics, operative data, and postoperative adverse events were monitored.

RESULTS: Patient characteristics and operative data including wound length (SWT 39 +/- 13 cm versus control 37 +/- 11 cm, p = 0.342) were comparable between the two groups. We observed lower ASEPSIS scores indicating improved wound healing in the SWT group (4.4 +/- 5.3) compared with the control group (11.6 +/- 8.3, p = 0.0001). Interestingly, we observed a higher incidence of wound healing disorders necessitating antibiotic treatment in the control group (22%) as compared with the SWT group (4%, p = 0.015). No SWT-associated adverse events were observed in the treatment group.

CONCLUSIONS: As shown in this prospective randomized study, prophylactic application of low-energy SWT improves wound healing after vein harvesting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

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