Skin and wound decontamination of multidrug-resistant bacteria by cold atmospheric plasma coagulation

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015 Feb;13(2):143-50. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12559. Epub 2015 Jan 16.
[Article in English, German]


Background and objectives: Novel concepts to limit the spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria (MDR) are urgently needed. Since treatment with cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has shown significant antibacterial properties, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of CAP to eliminate MDR- compared to non-MDR-pathogens in chronic wounds.

Methods: Eleven patients with 18 heavily colonized wounds were treated with a CE-certified commercial argon-based CAP source for 10 s/cm(2) in one session. The antimicrobial efficacy was assessed by calculating the microbial load before and after treatment.

Results: A single CAP treatment reduced MDR in all wounds. In 14 treatments (63.6 %) and for 16 pathogens (66.7 %), a 100 % reduction of the bacterial load was observed. For 11 of 17 (64.7 %) MDR-pathogens and for 5 of 7 (71.4 %) other non-MDR-pathogens, complete eradication was achieved. The remaining 8 treatments showed reductions of 77.5 ± 18.6 % and the remaining pathogens a reduction of 74.8 ± 25.7 %.

Conclusions: As proof of principle, argon-based CAP serves as a potent treatment modality that was shown to limit MDR microbial colonization. The possible role of CAP in clinical MDR decontamination must be evaluated in clinical trials with repeated plasma treatment embedded in a comprehensive hygienic decontamination concept.

MeSH terms

  • Argon Plasma Coagulation / instrumentation*
  • Argon Plasma Coagulation / methods*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Bacterial Load
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Wound Infection / therapy*