A Silver Bullet in Infection Reduction

There have been two recent health care studies that have shown the precious metal, silver might have wound healing features. The possible uses of silver in medical practices have been attempted for hundreds of years. Only recently have we found out how this could be true. Precious metals like silver have always held a special place of value in the civilized world. This new application does not involve silver coins or jewelry though.


Silverlon Wound Dressings

Both of these new studies involved the use of Silverlon wound dressings. They are specialized dressings that are designed with silver as an antimicrobial barrier to block the entry of bacteria or infection. They are meant to protect the wound from contamination. One might wonder why silver was chosen for this application. The truth is that silver itself is not anti-microbial. Raul Brizuela, President and CEO of Argentum Medical explains, “it is the silver ions that are released when it is exposed to moisture. What makes these ions so effective in fighting infection is that they attack bacteria with multiple modes of action.”

Brizuela states that the silver ions actually bond with the bacteria cell wall and prevent nutrients from passing through it. Because of the ion bond, oxygen cannot get in either. The bond eventually goes all the way down to the DNA and the nucleus. This process makes it impossible for the bacteria cells to replicate.

“It’s starved, it can’t breathe, and it can’t replicate, therefore it can’t thrive,” Brizuela said.


The Research

Two studies support this new application and type of wound dressing. The first is an independent study controlled by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program. Their research showed a 54% reduction in infections. This particular study was targeted at Silverlon dressings that were used on superficial and deep prosthetic joints following joint replacement.

Two types of dressings were used: the Silverlon, and standard dressings made of Xeroform and gauze. The standard dressing presented with an 8.4% rate of infection. With the Silverlon group, the rate of infection was only 3.9%. The research was conducted with 309 joint replacement cases in the Silverlon group and 525 in the standard dressing group. The surgeries were all performed by the same two surgeons, and the results were followed for 12 months after the surgery.
The second study was performed by the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital. Their Silverlon research showed a 46% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections for every 1000 catheter days. Since the period of the study, Tampa General Hospital has continued to see the reduced infection rate for six years. They use the Silverlon dressings in their vascular, burn, surgical trauma, medical, and coronary care ICUs.

These precious metal wound dressings can be worn for up to seven days. The dressing itself has a plated metallic surface that contacts the wounded area. It provides the antimicrobial protection without staining the skin or putting any added stress on the healing process. Medical products like this promote healing and reduce the risk of infection. This advancement uses one of the world’s oldest properties in brand new ways.

For more information on Silverlon wound dressings, look to [mddionline.com].