Objective: The primary aim is to assess the efficacy of microcurrent, a form of electrical stimulation, as an adjunct therapy in accelerating healing in chronic wounds by reducing wound size and pain level. The secondary aim is to assess the qualitative changes in these parameters: inflammatory symptoms, vasodilation, sleep quality, gait and frequency of bowel movement.
Method: Eligible patients with chronic wounds were enrolled between March and June 2016, from the Wound Care Unit, Hospital Kuala Lumpur in this consecutive case series. Standard wound care was performed with microcurrent as an adjunct therapy. Each patient was treated with an anti-inflammatory frequency, followed by a vasodilation frequency, while having their wounds cleansed during each dressing change. Patients were loaned a home-microcurrent device to treat themselves three times daily using a tissue repair frequency for four weeks.
Results: A total of 100 patients with chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, and pressure ulcers, were recruited. During the four-week treatment period, all patients had a reduction in wound size, with 16 having complete wound closure. All 89 of the 100 patients who complained of pain, associated with their wound, experienced reduced pain scores, with 11 being pain-free at the end of the four-week period. There was significant reduction (p<0.001) in both mean pain score and mean wound area during the treatment period, as well as improvements in other parameters, such as reduction in inflammatory symptoms (leg swelling, foot stiffness), increased vasodilation (skin discolouration, leg heaviness, early morning erection, sensation), improvement in sleep quality, gait, and frequency of bowel movement. No adverse events were reported.
Conclusion: The results of this study show there was significant reduction in wound area and pain score during the treatment period. The ease of use of microcurrent devices would advocate its use in accelerating wound healing.
Keywords: adjunct therapy; chronic wound; electrical stimulation; electromedicine; microcurrent; pain reduction; vasodilation.