Objective: To compare the effectiveness of two commonly used moist dressings, Aquacel and Aquacel Foam (both ConvaTec Ltd., UK), in managing split-thickness skin graft (STSG) donor site wounds. Method: Patients undergoing STSG harvesting for reconstruction were eligible for this quasi-experimental study. After reconstruction surgery, the Aquacel (A) or Aquacel Foam (AF) dressings were applied on the donor site wound. The STSG donor site was assessed by two trained research nurses daily. Clinical outcomes including pain on dressing removal, use of intravenous analgesics, signs and symptoms of wound infection, incidence of exudate leakage and percentage healed were recorded in a standardised form. Cost of the dressing change was retrieved from the hospital billing system. Results: Of 50 patients recruited, 25 received dressing A and 25 received the AF dressing for their STSG donor site wound. The average pain score on dressing removal was significantly lower in the AF dressing group compared with the A dressing group (0.8±0.8 versus 3.1±1.5, respectively (p=0.04)). Regression analysis demonstrated that compared with dressing A, the AF dressing was associated with a lower average pain score (beta: –2.27, standard error: 0.33; p<0.001), lower likelihood of pro re nata (PRN) intravenous analgesic use (odds ratio (OR)=0.21, 95% confidence interval: 0.06–0.71; p=0.01) and lower likelihood of exudate leakage (OR=0.11, p=0.01). The differences in time to wound healing, infection and cost were not statistically significant between the two groups. Conclusion: In this study, the AF dressing demonstrated superior performance in pain response on dressing removal for STSG donor site wounds compared with dressing A. Large-scale randomised controlled trials should be conducted to confirm the findings. Declaration of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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