PWD: Treatment Platform for Both Prolonged Field Care and Definitive Treatment of Burn-Injured Warfighters

Mil Med. 2019 May 1;184(5-6):e373-e380. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy242.


Introduction: Burns are a very frequent injury type in the battlefield, comprising 5-20% of combat casualties in the recent conflicts. Almost 80% of the burns occur to the face, in part because the face is often not protected. Immediate treatment is critical in the first hours after severe burn injury in order to prevent infection and wound progression. Immediate treatment in the battlefield can be a serious challenge especially if the injury occurs in a remote area with limited transport options. Therefore, novel treatment modalities for prolonged field care when transport to the definitive care is delayed are needed. The purpose of this study was to utilize the platform wound device (PWD) with negative pressure capabilities for the immediate and definitive treatment of porcine full-thickness head burns.

Materials and methods: Full-thickness burn wounds were created on foreheads of seven Yorkshire pigs. Burns were created on day 0, immediately enclosed with the PWD and treated topically with minocycline and lidocaine. On day 3, the burns were surgically debrided. Subsequently, new PWDs were placed on the wounds and continuous negative pressure wound therapy was initiated with either -50 mmHg or -80 mmHg. On day 7, the animals were euthanized and wounds were harvested for analyses. Control wounds were treated with silver sulfadiazine cream.

Results: The PWD treatment with negative pressure significantly reduced erythema and edema in the injured tissue and promoted granulation tissue and neocollagen formation by day 7 in comparison to control wounds. In addition, the PWD with both topical minocycline and negative pressure (-80 mmHg or -50 mmHg) reduced bacterial counts in the wounds similar to the current standard of care.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the PWD is an effective platform for delivery of antibiotics and negative pressure wound therapy for the treatment of full-thickness burns. Therefore, the PWD may be utilized for both prolonged field care and definitive treatment of burn- and blast-injured warfighters.

Keywords: Burns; Negative pressure wound therapy; Platform wound device; Prolonged field care; Topical treatment; Wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Burns / microbiology
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Forehead / injuries
  • Forehead / microbiology
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy / methods
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy / standards*
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Swine / injuries*
  • Swine / microbiology
  • Warfare
  • Wound Healing / physiology