A retrospective, quality improvement review of maggot debridement therapy outcomes in a foot and leg ulcer clinic

Ostomy Wound Manage. 2014 Jul;60(7):16-25.


Maggot debridement is the deliberate use of larvae known to consume only necrotic tissue. A retrospective quality improvement analysis of maggot debridement therapy (MDT) was conducted among patients with devitalized tissue or gangrene attending a Canadian foot and leg ulcer clinic who received MDT between January 2001 and June 2006. MDT was applied every 48 hours until >90% of necrotic tissue was debrided. The authors identified MDT patients in the clinic database and reviewed their medical records for age, gender, presence of diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), type of wound, number of maggot applications required, wound outcomes, and nursing visit costs (week before, during, and after MDT) and noted patient experiences. Records of 68 patients (average age 71, range 22 to 95, years) were identified and abstracted. Of those, 44% had leg ulcers and 67% had both diabetes and PAD. The majority (39, 58%) of wounds required three debridement sessions. All but one patient achieved debridement of >90% of necrotic tissue in 2 to 10 days. Most wounds (56) healed with follow-up moist wound care. Only one patient withdrew from MDT. No other patient or safety concerns were documented. Total nursing visits for all patients the week before and then after MDT were 307 and 102, respectively. These findings confirm results of previous reports about the effectiveness of MDT for wound debridement. Randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to confirm the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of MDT compared to other debridement modalities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / standards*
  • Animals
  • Canada
  • Debridement / economics
  • Debridement / methods*
  • Debridement / standards
  • Female
  • Foot Ulcer / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Larva*
  • Leg Ulcer / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome