Efficacy and tolerance of calcium alginate versus vaseline gauze dressings in the treatment of diabetic foot lesions

Diabetes Metab. 2002 Jun;28(3):223-9.


Background: The study aimed at comparing the efficacy and tolerance of an alginate wound dressing with a vaseline gauze dressing in the treatment of diabetic foot lesions.

Methods: This open-label randomized multicenter controlled study was designed to assess the effect of an up to 6-week treatment with either calcium alginate or vaseline gauze dressings. Lesions were either acute or chronic, under cleansing, and with a surface area of 1-50 cm(2); osteomyelitis and severe hypovascularization were non-inclusion criteria. Dressings were changed every day then, once granulation had occurred, every 2 to 3 days. Primary outcome was the proportion of patients with granulation tissue over 75% of the wound area and having a 40% decrease in wound surface area; secondary outcomes were pain on dressing changes, the number of dressing changes, and adverse events.

Results: Seventy-seven patients were enrolled. Due to the premature cessation of treatment in 13 patients, it was decided to reduce the period of the efficacy analysis to 4 weeks (without revising the criteria of efficacy). The success rate was of 42.8% in the calcium alginate group and of 28.5% in the vaseline gauze group (not significant difference). A subsequent analysis of granulation tissue surfaces covering the wounds at week 4 (all surfaces taken together) showed a superiority of calcium alginate (p=0.04). Pain on dressing change was lower in the calcium alginate group (p=0.047) and the total number of dressing changes tended also to be lower (p=0.07). Adverse events, which occurred 4 times in the calcium alginate group and 6 times in the other, were judged independent of the treatments.

Conclusions: As compared with vaseline gauze, calcium alginate appears to be more appropriate for topical treatment of diabetic foot lesions in terms of both healing and tolerance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Alginates / therapeutic use*
  • Bandages*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Petrolatum / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing*


  • Alginates
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Petrolatum
  • Glucuronic Acid