LINK Scientific Content – Congress Abstract

The "optimal" pressure level using NPWT - Some technological aspects

Scientific Content

The "optimal" pressure level using NPWT - Some technological aspects

Congress Abstract
NPWT, LINK Congress 2017
Publication Year
Christian Willy
Approx. reading time
5 min


The objective of this study was to analyse pressure conditions in the foam-tissue interface zone during application of vacuum therapy. We also focused on the question of whether the applied suction is undiminished over a longer distance as would be required when foams of larger area-size are used and whether there are important differences between the two currently available foam materials, polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).


Pressure measurements were performed using a multichannel computer-guided pressure measurement system (ARGUS®, MIPM GmbH) that uses a piezoresistive principle for pressure registration. The measurement method is based on changes in specific resistance in certain semiconductors in response to pressure.


The results of the study show that suction is distributed almost undiminished through the foam to the wound surface. This is possible in the suction range of 50-200 mmHg even at distances of over 50 cm using only one port/connector. When a PVA foam is used, there is a relevant reduction in suction strength at suction levels of > 150 mmHg that increases in proportion to the distance from the port/connector. It was also shown that positive pressures reaching >50 mmHg may develop the uppermost tissue layers. The shape of the wound (whether convex or concave) has a significant effect on the developing pressure conditions.


The currently recommended suction strength of 125 mmHg was based on an animal experiment by Morykwas et al. And Isago et al. compared suction strengths of 0, 25, 50, 75 and 125 mmHg in terms of associated wound healing success. They found that there were no significant differences between respective speeds of wound healing achieved at suction strengths of 50, 75 and 125 mmHg. Hence, it appears that suction strengths falling in the range of 50 to 125 mmHg are essentially equivalent in terms of suitability for vacuum therapy. Based on these findings, it appears that suction pressure should be selected so as to create nonhomogeneous pressure conditions in the tissue yet not high as to cause extensive ischemia near the wound surface. The applied suction pressure should not, therefore, be standardized to 125 mmHg.


Christian Willy
Department of Traumatology / Orthopaedic Surgery, Septic and Reconstructive Surgery, Bundeswehr Hospital Berlin


  • C. Willy, H. v. Thun-Hohenstein, H.U. Voelker, M. Weymouth, T. Kossmann and M. Engelhardt (2006) Experimental Basis II - Pressure Values Under Vacuum Therapy Foams - An Experimental in vitro and in vivo Investigation. In: (Edited by Christian Willy) The Theory and Practice of Vacuum Therapy Scientific Basis, Indications for Use, Case Reports, Practical Advice, 71-86, Lindqvist Book Publishing, Berlin, 2006
  • Willy C, von Thun-Hohenstein H, von Lubken F, Weymouth M, Kossmann T, Engelhardt M (2006) (Experimental principles of the V.A.C.-therapy -- pressure values in superficial soft tissue and the applied foam]. Zentralbl Chir 131 Suppl 1:S50-61
  • Kim PJ, Attinger CE, Steinberg JS, Evans KK, Lehner B, Willy C, et al. (2013) Negative-pressure wound therapy with instillation: international consensus guidelines. Plast Reconstr Surg 132(6):1569-1579
  • Back DA, Scheuermann-Poley C, Willy C (2013) Recommendations on negative pressure wound therapy with instillation and antimicrobial solutions - when, where and how to use: what does the evidence show? Int Wound J 10 Suppl 1:32-42
  • Apelqvist J, Willy C, Fagerdahl AM, Fraccalvieri M, Malmsjo M, Piaggesi A, et al. (2017) EWMA Document: Negative Pressure Wound Therapy. J Wound Care 26(Sup3):S1-S154

Read more about these topics

Get access to over 200 scientific abstracts, publications, webinars and E-learning to expand your knowledge of wound management.

You might be interested in