Background: Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP, i.e. ionized air) is an innovating promising tool in reducing bacteria.
Objective: We conducted the first clinical trial with the novel PlasmaDerm® VU-2010 device to assess safety and, as secondary endpoints, efficacy and applicability of 45 s/cm(2) cold atmospheric plasma as add-on therapy against chronic venous leg ulcers.
Methods: From April 2011 to April 2012, 14 patients were randomized to receive standardized modern wound care (n = 7) or plasma in addition to standard care (n = 7) 3× per week for 8 weeks. The ulcer size was determined weekly (Visitrak® , photodocumentation). Bacterial load (bacterial swabs, contact agar plates) and pain during and between treatments (visual analogue scales) were assessed. Patients and doctors rated the applicability of plasma (questionnaires).
Results: The plasma treatment was safe with 2 SAEs and 77 AEs approximately equally distributed among both groups (P = 0.77 and P = 1.0, Fisher's exact test). Two AEs probably related to plasma. Plasma treatment resulted in a significant reduction in lesional bacterial load (P = 0.04, Wilcoxon signed-rank test). A more than 50% ulcer size reduction was noted in 5/7 and 4/7 patients in the standard and plasma groups, respectively, and a greater size reduction occurred in the plasma group (plasma -5.3 cm(2) , standard: -3.4 cm(2) ) (non-significant, P = 0.42, log-rank test). The only ulcer that closed after 7 weeks received plasma. Patients in the plasma group quoted less pain compared to the control group. The plasma applicability was not rated inferior to standard wound care (P = 0.94, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test). Physicians would recommend (P = 0.06, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test) or repeat (P = 0.08, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test) plasma treatment by trend.
Conclusion: Cold atmospheric plasma displays favourable antibacterial effects. We demonstrated that plasma treatment with the PlasmaDerm® VU-2010 device is safe and effective in patients with chronic venous leg ulcers. Thus, larger controlled trials and the development of devices with larger application surfaces are warranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01415622.
© 2014 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.