Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of an innovative electrical stimulation (ES) therapy as adjuvant treatment for chronic wounds of various aetiology, in terms of pain and ulcer healing.
Method: Patients with chronic limb ulcers were enrolled for the study and randomised into the intervention or control group. The intervention group received conventional treatment plus ES therapy (FREMS; Lorenz Lifetech) while the control group received only conventional treatment. Each ES treatment cycle consisted of 12 sessions performed in 4 weeks (three sessions/week). All patients were treated until full wound healing occurred, or for a maximum of 9 ES cycles, with a 2-week rest between each cycle.
Results: A total of 60 patients were enrolled in the study and randomised into the two groups: the intervention group (n=30) and the control group (n=30). During follow-up, some patients terminated the protocol because they reached the ulcer closure before the maximum of 9 cycles. The analysis of the effect of ES on pain and ulcer healing was performed on all patients who underwent at least two consecutive clinical evaluations (two cycles), in order to reach a compatible sample size with the primary objective (one patient withdrew). In both groups, there was a significant reduction of pain compared with baseline (p < 0.05), starting from T6 visit in the first cycle. In particular, there was a significant reduction of pain in the intervention group compared with the control group after 14 days, and this reduction continued until the end of the second cycle. Similarly, there was a significant reduction of PUSH tool score in the intervention group compared with the control group after 14 days, and this reduction continued until the end of the second cycle.
Conclusion: Data collected in this study support data in the literature. Analysis of longitudinal data analysed by simple models and complex models suggest that the ES therapy had a positive and significant effect on pain reduction (VAS) and on the improvement of ulcer healing process in terms of the PUSH tool total index compared with conventional treatment, and may have induced a significant acceleration of the wound-healing process.