Effectiveness of Different Topical Treatments in the Healing of Pressure Injuries: A Network Meta-analysis.
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Pressure injuries (PIs) are one of the most common types of complex wounds and impose a huge economic burden on the healthcare system and the patients. A plethora of topical treatments is widely available for PI treatment, yet there is a paucity of evidence with regard to the most effective treatment. The objective of this study was to compare the effect of various topical treatments and identify the best treatment choice(s) for PI healing. Systematic review and network meta-analysis. All published randomized controlled trials that compared the effectiveness of 2 or more of the following dressing groups: basic, foam, active, hydroactive, and other wound dressings. The outcome was the relative risk (RR) of complete healing following treatment and the generalized pairwise modeling framework was used to generate mixed treatment effects against hydroactive wound dressing, currently the standard of treatment for PIs. All treatments were then ranked by their point estimates. 40 studies (1757 participants) comparing 5 dressing groups were included in the analysis. All dressings groups ranked better than basic (ie, saline gauze or similar inert dressing). The foam [RR 1.18; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.95-1.48] and active wound dressing (RR 1.16; 95% CI 0.92-1.47) ranked better than hydroactive wound dressing in terms of healing of PIs when the latter was used as the reference group. There was substantial uncertainty around the point estimates; however, evidence from our analysis supports the use of hydroactive wound dressings to replace basic dressings. Foam and active wound dressing groups seem promising and therefore need further investigation. High-quality, rigorously conducted research about the clinical effectiveness of the topical treatments in these 2 groups developed in consultation with health professionals, patients, and their carers is needed to identify if indeed foam and active wound dressings provide advantages over hydroactive dressings.