No need for biopsies: comparison of three sample techniques for wound microbiota determination

Int Wound J. 2012 Jun;9(3):295-302. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-481X.2011.00883.x. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


The aim of the study was to compare three sampling techniques used in routine diagnostics to identify the microbiota in chronic venous leg ulcers. A total of 46 patients with persisting venous leg ulcers were included in the study. At inclusion, swab, biopsy and filter paper pad samples were collected. After 4 weeks, additional biopsy and filter paper pad samples were collected. Bacteria were isolated and identified at species level by standard methods. The most common bacterial species detected was Staphylococcus aureus found in 89% of the ulcers. No methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolates were found. We did not find any significant differences regarding the bacterial species isolated between the three sampling techniques. However, using multiple techniques led to identification of more species. Our study suggests that it is sufficient to use swab specimens to identify the bacterial species present in chronic wounds, thus avoiding complications during and after biopsy sampling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Leg Ulcer / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Metagenome*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Wound Infection / diagnosis
  • Wound Infection / microbiology*