Vol. 3 No. 7 (2023)
Health Technology Reviews

Electrostimulation Devices for Wounds

Published July 13, 2023

Key Messages

  • We found that electrostimulation as an adjunct to usual wound care might be better than usual care alone for wound management without increasing the risk of adverse events.
  • Electrostimulation therapy may have greater effectiveness for patients with chronic wounds versus acute wounds or those with venous leg ulcers (VLUs) who do not have surgery compared with those who do have surgery.
  • Electrostimulation using pulsed current may have greater effectiveness on wound management than using direct current for patients with pressure ulcers.
  • Limited evidence from subgroup analyses suggests that the effectiveness of electrostimulation may be similar to negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) in wound surface area (WSA) and time to complete wound healing.
  • One economic evaluation study used a within-trial time horizon (up to 24 weeks) and, based on the UK National Health Service perspective, suggests that electrostimulation is less costly and more effective than placebo at 24 weeks. We did not find any studies reporting on the cost-effectiveness between electrostimulation and NPWT that met the inclusion criteria for this report.
  • One guideline suggests using electrostimulation as an adjunct intervention for managing postoperative pain in patients who have undergone elective caesarean section; another guideline strongly recommends against physical therapies (including electrostimulation) for diabetic foot ulcer management.
  • A patient with lived experience of using an electrostimulation device for the treatment of a wound was involved in this report. He identified outcomes that are important to patients, primarily avoiding hospitalization and surgery, which were not outcomes reported in the identified literature. Considerations included the accessibility of the devices, training, and integration into homecare services.