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Management of wound exudate

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The role of moisture in wound healing has often been misunderstood. When the science of wound healing began to develop in 1962 with Winter's work on moist wound healing,1 the concept became popular.

Moist wound healing has been shown to improve healing, reduce pain and discomfort and reduce infection rates.1-5 It was assumed that because contact with wound fluid was beneficial to the healing process in acute wounds, the same approach should be applied to chronic wounds. It is now known that chronic wound fluid contains substances detrimental to cell proliferation, and maintaining contact between a chronic wound and its fluid is likely to delay healing.6

Acute and chronic exudate

Exudate is mainly water, but it also contains electrolytes, nutrients, proteins, inflammatory mediators, protein-digesting enzymes, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), growth factors and waste products, as well as cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and platelets.7


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