Polymer sandwich targets bacteria rather than skin

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					        NEWS | Wound Care

                          The Treatment Expert
                                                                Polymer sandwich targets
                          Donna Sardina, RN,
                          MHA, WCC
                          President, Wound Care
                          Education Institute
                                                                bacteria rather than skin
                                                                By John O’Connor                                                                              to several hundred nanometers
                                                                Ankit Agarwal, a postdoctoral                                                                 in thickness.
        Are all pressure ulcers preventable?                    researcher at the University of                                                                  (One nanometer is one-
                                                                Wisconsin-Madison, recently                                                                   billionth of a meter; a human
        Expert opinion varies regarding whether                 described an experimental                                                                     hair is about 60,000 nanometers
        all pressure ulcers are preventable.                    wound care approach that uses                                                                 in diameter.)
        However, the majority agree that there                  a polymer sandwich. While it                                                                     Nicholas Abbott, a profes-

                                                                                                                                         Photo: iStockphoto
        can be circumstances where pressure                     takes advantage of silver’s anti-                                                             sor of chemical and biologi-
        ulcers are unavoidable.                                 bacterial properties, it greatly                                                              cal engineering who advises
            Consideration must be given to the                  reduces silver-related damage                                                                 Agarwal, says during the past
        fact that a resident’s risk status and abil-            to skin cells.                        Wound healing is a particular                           decade, “about a bazillion
        ity to heal may be affected by co-morbid                   Agarwal achieved these             problem in diabetes, where poor                         papers have been published
                                                                                                      blood supply that inhibits heal-
        illnesses such as peripheral vascular                   results by creating an ultra-         ing can require amputations.
                                                                                                                                                              on polyelectrolyte multilayers.
        disease, diabetes mellitus, malignan-                   thin material carrying a pre-                                                                 It’s been a tremendous invest-
        cies, or immune diseases. There also                    cise dose of silver. One square       mers that adhere through elec-                          ment by material scientists, and
        may be times that the facility attempted                inch contains just 0.4% of the        trical attraction. To make the                          that investment is now ripe to
        to implement proactive measures but                     silver that is found in the silver-   sandwich, Agarwal alternately                           be exploited.”
        the resident was non-compliant or                       treated antibacterial bandages        dips a glass plate in two solu-                            Silver is widely used to pre-
        refused to follow the care plan.                        currently used, he said.              tions of oppositely charged                             vent bacterial contamination in
            Organ decompensation and failure                       In lab tests, the low con-         polymers, and finally he adds                           wound dressings, says Agarwal,
        in the final days or weeks of life can                  centration of silver killed           a precise dose of silver.                               “but these dressings deliver a
        result in large and unusual presenta-               
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