Eligible studies had to be randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in which topical negative pressure was compared with a control intervention. Participants included patients with pressure ulcers. Wound healing, as volume or surface reduction or increase in granulation tissue, needed to be reported and the control intervention described.
Two of the five included trials included only patients with pressure ulcers. The other three trials included patients with other types of wounds. In all trials, the intervention treatment was topical negative pressure using the VAC technology of KCI Medical Products. In all cases, the vacuum was set at 125mmHg. Dressings were changed every two to seven days. Control treatments were gauzes wetted in saline or Ringer’s solution, sodium hypochlorite, acetic acid or nitrofuralum, a papain-urea ointment or a cadexomer-iodine, hydrocolloid, alginate, acetic acid or sodium hypochlorite dressing.
Primary end points were duration of wound healing, decrease in wound volume or wound surface, sufficient granulation tissue for surgical correction or further healing, pain and bacteria growth. Secondary end points were bacterial cleaning, wound care time, cost, comfort and adverse effects.
The first author screened the articles on title and abstract for eligibility based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria.