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Tissue Viability Service at Brentwood Community Hospital is First to Purchase New Test for Wounds

The tissue viability service at Brentwood Community Hospital, part of North East London NHS Foundation Trust, has led the way by becoming the first to order WOUNDCHEK™ Protease Status for use on its patients with chronic wounds. The test identifies EPA (Elevated Protease Activity) in just 15 minutes. 



EPA is associated with stalled, non-healing chronic wounds, with recent clinical trials showing that chronic wounds with EPA have 90% probability of not healing without appropriate intervention. Recent data also showed that approximately 30% of chronic wounds may have EPA.  In the UK, chronic wounds such as leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers are a significant burden to the NHS, with the cost of caring for patients conservatively estimated at £2.3-3.1 billion a year (at 2005-6 costs) .  For patients, common uncomfortable symptoms of chronic wounds include pain, weeping and odour. 

Until the launch of WOUNDCHEK™ Protease Status, clinicians based wound assessment to a great extent on experience, including visual and smell. This new test is the only means to identify EPA, as there are no visual cues to alert clinicians to it. EPA has most recently been recognised as an indicator of potential healing complications by leading NHS clinicians, Clinical Commissioners, and members of the Department of Health, who have recommended testing for EPA as part of the treatment pathway for venous leg ulcers .  

Ray Norris, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Tissue Viability for North East London NHS Foundation Trust, who is the clinician behind the first purchase of the test said: “The benefits of the test are being able to accurately diagnose for the first time likely problems with a patient with a chronic wound.  Being able to do this takes some of the guesswork out of the way we have had to practise previously. In daily practice our clinical decision making is going to become more accurate and more focused, we can be confident about the treatment we give to our patients.”

The new test comes from British company Systagenix – one of the world’s leading woundcare companies. Simon Bayliff, Research and Development Program Manager for Systagenix said: “Seeing WOUNDCHEK™ Protease Status used in a clinical setting after years of research is very exciting for us.  Ray Norris and North East London NHS Foundation Trust should be applauded for embracing new technology, such as WOUNDCHEK™ Protease Status, with a view to improving patient care.”

The photo shows Staff Nurse Nina Murphy and Simon Bayliff, Research and Development Program Manager for Systagenix, reading the test result for the first WOUNDCHEK™ Protease Status test performed by the for North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

27 Feb 2012

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