Published on:

Using A Wound VAC To Treat Pressure Sores

Wound Vac as Bedsore Treatment

Pressure sores, once started, can be difficult to treat and heal, even by the best medical staff. Though prevention is still the best medicine in the case of these painful and deadly sores, there is a treatment that uses a machine called the wound VAC that seems to accelerate the healing while also protecting the wound from infection.

What Is A Wound VAC?

This specialized piece of equipment is brilliant in its simplicity. VAC stands for vacuum-assisted closure. The idea is to use foam and a negative pressure vacuum to reduce fluids and seal a wound as it heals. How it works is the wound is first dressed and then a piece of sterilized foam is cut to the size of the wound and placed on the wound. The wound is then covered and attached to a pump that suctions fluids out, leaving a level of moisture that allows the wound to heal while slowly pulling the wound together to close. The machine collects excess fluid and it is disposed of. For further discussion of a wound vac look here.

Pressure Sore VAC Treatment

For use in the treatment of pressure sores, there have been many studies that have shown the effectiveness of using VAC equipment to excel and help with the healing of these sores. Part of what makes this machine work well for pressure sores is its ability not only to close the wound but also to protect it from additional bacteria exposure that is often associated with progressed final stage sores (look here). The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has several studies that are listed on its website that have shown that this treatment seems to promote faster healing along with protecting the wound from further infection.

VAC Patent Controversy

There has been a huge battle over whether the claimed inventor of the wound VAC and the company who first started supplying it in the U.S., Kinetic Concepts Inc.(KCI), have exclusive rights to the method. The inventor, Dr. Louis Argenta, says he originally came up with the idea back in the 1980’s. He brought the idea to Wake Forest University, who applied for the patent for the VAC and sold the license to KCI. By 1995 the machine and technology hit the market and over the next decade, profits soared into the hundreds of millions.

The controversy ensued when Medicare began reimbursement for the use of VAC treatment and other medical supply companies wanted in on the action. Other devices were created using gauze instead of foam, but physicians still preferred the foam device as it was proven effective. The next step was proving that the original foam patent was based on prior technology. Since negative pressure had been used for a century in wound healing the technology was considered “obvious”, making the patent KCI had invalid. Since then, many companies have created their own versions of the VAC and created a more competitive price environment for the device.

Regardless of its legal history, the VAC wound healing equipment and technology have brought improved healing to pressure sores and other wounds. They are one of the best advancements that have been made in the treatment of advanced pressure sores, regardless of the company that makes them.


Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.