Effective wound bed preparation using maggot debridement therapy for patients with critical limb ischaemia

J Wound Care. 2017 Aug 2;26(8):483-489. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2017.26.8.483.


Objective: Patients with critical limb ischaemia (CLI) lack sufficient blood flow in to the limb, which leads to difficulties in the normal wound healing process. Therefore, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) has not generally been recommended for CLI patients. We evaluated the effectiveness of wound bed preparation by MDT in CLI patients who had undergone mid-foot amputation.

Methods: Patients who underwent mid-foot amputation after angioplasty between April 2014 and October 2016 were retrospectively investigated by classifying them into an MDT group or a conventional treatment group. The primary outcome was defined as achievement of wound healing. Secondary outcomes were the proportions of amputation-free survival (AFS) and successful ambulatory improvement. Propensity scores were used to evaluate treatment outcomes based on five factors: ankle-brachial index, skin perfusion pressure of the foot, nutritional status, experience with dialysis and age.

Results: A total of 39 patients (39 legs) were included, seven within the MDT group and 32 in the conventional treatment group. Clinical backgrounds of the two groups showed no significant differences except for higher albumin levels for the MDT group (3.5±0.4g/dl; p=0.014). The wound healing proportion was significantly higher in the MDT group (86%) than in the control group (38%) (p=0.035). At 6 months after amputation, no significant differences were found between the two groups for AFS (71% versus 47%; p=0.41) or ambulatory capability (43% versus 28%; p=0.65). This result was also similar to the propensity score adjustment analysis.

Conclusions: The efficacy of MDT with favourable wound bed preparation was shown in our CLI patients based on effective debridement and granulation formation by maggots, avoiding the loss of their heels. Wound-healing rates after MDT were higher for patients than for those receiving conventional treatment. MDT is considered a valid adjuvant treatment strategy for patients with CLI after revascularisation treatment is conducted. More favourable wound bed preparation and successful graft take were achieved in the MDT group, suggesting the effectiveness of MDT for wound healing in CLI patients.

Keywords: amputation; critical limb ischaemia; debridement; larvae; maggot debridement therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Angioplasty
  • Animals
  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Debridement / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures
  • Female
  • Foot / blood supply
  • Foot / surgery*
  • Granulation Tissue
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / complications
  • Ischemia / surgery*
  • Larva*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / complications
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Surgical Wound / complications
  • Surgical Wound / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing


  • Serum Albumin