A new ePatch bandage combines the use of electric current to stimulate wound healing with silver inserts that are designed to have an antibacterial effect, preventing infection of the wound. An initial test of the bandage has now taken place in the United States.
Current shocks make wounds heal faster
It is well known that mild electric shocks make wounds heal faster. In the 19th century, it was first discovered that weak electrical currents could be detected in the immediate vicinity of wounds. Today, this fact is attributed to the fact that the corresponding electric fields take over a navigation function, so to speak, and guide healthy cells to the wound so that they can participate in wound healing there. Following this assumption, it is plausible that the artificial generation of a current flow at the wound contributes to this effect.
In a study published in 2006, it was found that the movement of cells could indeed be controlled by means of electricity – and that this could also be used to regulate wound healing. This not only demonstrated that the use of electricity is a proven means of accelerating wound healing, but also supported the aforementioned thesis explaining this influence.
Electrodes made of silver for antibacterial effect
The ePatch bandage now developed not only makes use of this wound-healing-promoting effect of the current, but also relies on the antibacterial effect of the element silver in addition. The two influencing factors are combined by silver electrodes: The electrodes that emit the current thus have an antibacterial effect in the wound environment at the same time due to their material composition. This antibacterial effect in turn counteracts infections of the wound, which in some cases can lead to serious complications and also significantly delay wound healing.
The electrodes are embedded in a special hydrogel patch that is particularly flexible and can therefore be easily adapted in size and shape. In addition, it is made of biocompatible material, which significantly reduces the likelihood of irritation that could interfere with wound healing.
Effective in animal testing
The ePatch bandage has now been tested for the first time in animal experiments. Here, rats that had wounds were divided into two groups. One group was not treated, while the other was treated with the ePatch bandage. Natural wound healing in the control group lasted an average of twenty days. In the ePatch group, however, wound healing was completed after an average of seven days. Furthermore, the ePatch group showed less scarring.