Background: Electrical microcurrent therapy (EMT) consists of the application of low intensity (μA) currents that are similar to endogenous electric fields generated during wound healing.
Aims: To examine the effectiveness and safety of EMT for improving wound healing and pain in people with acute or chronic wounds.
Method: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) assessing the effectiveness of EMT in wound healing published up to August 1st, 2020 were included. The main outcomes were wound surface area, healing time, and number of wounds healed. Secondary outcomes were pain perception and adverse events. A quantitative analysis was conducted using the inverse variance and Mantel-Haenszel methods.
Results: Eight RCTs were included in the qualitative summary and seven in the quantitative analysis (n = 337 participants). EMT plus standard wound care (SWC) produced a greater decrease in wound surface [mean difference (MD) = -8.3 cm2; CI 95%: -10.5 to -6.0] and healing time (MD = -7.0 days; CI 95%: -11.9 to -2.1) that SWC alone, showing moderate and low certainty in the evidence, respectively. However, no differences were observed in the number of healed wounds [risk ratio = 2.0; CI 95%: 0.5 to 9.1], with very low quality of evidence. EMT decreased perceived pain (MD = -1.4; CI 95%: -2.7 to -0.2), but no differences in adverse effects were noted between groups (risk difference = 0.05; CI 95%: -0.06 to 0.17).
Conclusions: EMT is an effective, safe treatment for improving wound area, healing time, and pain. Further clinical trials that include detailed intervention parameters and protocols should be designed to lower the risk of bias.
Keywords: Electric stimulation therapy; Meta-analysis; Microcurrent therapy; Review; Wound healing.
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