Study to evaluate the effect of low-intensity pulsed electrical currents on levels of oedema in chronic non-healing wounds

J Wound Care. 2011 Aug;20(8):368, 370-3. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2011.20.8.368.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a medical device, Accel-Heal, which generates a low-intensity pulsed direct current, on the management of oedema in chronic leg ulcers, using high-frequency diagnostic ultrasound.

Method: High-frequency diagnostic ultrasound (20MHz) with an axial resolution of 60um was used to assess the effect of an electrical stimulation device delivering a low-intensity pulsed current on levels of oedema in chronic non-healing venous and mixed aetiology leg ulcers for a period of 10 days. Thirty patients' wounds were monitored over a 3-month period, during which time changes in levels of oedema in the wound bed and surrounding tissues were imaged and measured.

Results: A significant fall in the, previously high level, of periwound oedema was noted in the patient population after 10 days of device application. By 20 days after the first application of the device the level of periwound oedema had decreased by approximately 60% of the original level, which was maintained up to the 90-day follow-up. Occurring in parallel with this, scans of the wound bed showed a rapid decrease in the levels of oedema as the new wound matrix was laid down.

Conclusion: The electrical stimulation device appeared to be effective in reducing oedema levels in a range of chronic wounds and their surrounding tissues.

Conflict of interest: The study was funded by a grant from Synapse micro-current Ltd.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Edema / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography
  • Varicose Ulcer / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Ulcer / pathology
  • Varicose Ulcer / therapy*
  • Wound Healing