Maggots help heal diabetes wounds

2011-09-26 08:26

kalahari.com

Washington - To jump-start the healing of difficult diabetic wounds, US researchers have a suggestion: Let maggots do the work.

To allow such wounds to heal, doctors remove infected or dead tissue with scalpels or enzymes, a process they call debridement. But these tools often fail.

"These problem patients with diabetes really need better treatments in order to salvage their limbs," said Lawrence Eron from Kaiser Hospital and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, who with colleagues presented their findings at a recent scientific meeting in Chicago.

"Maggot debridement treatment is overwhelmingly effective. After just one treatment these wounds start looking better," he said.

The results from Eron's team, which treated 37 diabetics with the maggots, still haven't been vetted by independent researchers.

Successful outcomes

All of the patients in the study had a type of artery disease that causes poor circulation in the limbs and they all had stubborn wounds, some up to five years old.

The doctors put 50 to 100 maggots, of the species Lucilia sericata, on the wounds and left them there for two days, at which time they applied new ones. They repeated this five times on average.

"We cage the maggots in a mesh-like material. Nylon panty hose might be used. And then we seal them so they don't get out," Eron said.

Maggots secrete substances into wounds that liquefy dead tissue and then ingest the material to further degrade it in their gut. The wounds are cleaned, and other substances contained in the maggot secretions allow the development of granulation tissue, a type of connective tissue that forms during wound healing.

Twenty-one of the patients had successful outcomes, defined as eradication of infection, complete removal of dead tissue, formation of robust connective tissue in the wound and more than three-quarters closure of the wound.

Five wounds were infected with the "superbug" MRSA, but they healed successfully with the maggot therapy. Nine wounds were infected with another bacterium called MSSA, and six of those healed. All 10 cases with infection due to group B streptococci were successfully treated, Eron said.

The treatment failed in some patients. One had excessive inflammation surrounding the wound, two bled too much, and three had problems with infected bones.

Asked how he persuades patients to undergo the treatment, Eron said he carefully explains the procedure and then has them sign a consent form.

"A lot of patients might be somewhat wary of having live insects placed into their wounds so we explain how it works and what possible problems might occur," he said.

"After this, we go on to do further treatment with hydrogels, grafts of cell culture tissue, or negative pressure dressings. But to get to the point there these treatments will work, you really need to clean up the wound, get rid of dead tissue, and get robust granulation tissue into the wound - and this is where the maggots help."

Read more on:    health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.