Negative pressure wound therapy versus usual care for Surgical Wounds Healing by Secondary Intention (SWHSI-2 Trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled pilot trial

Ian Chetter, Catherine Ellen Arundel*, Caroline Marie Fairhurst, Sara Anita Rodgers, Pedro Rafael Saramago Goncalves, David John Torgerson, Stephen Dixon, Eileen Henderson, Angela Oswald, Jo Dumville, Nikki Stubbs, Hannah Buckley, Emma Clarke, Nicky Cullum, Karen Lamb, Elizabeth McGinnis, Marta O Soares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most incisions following surgery heal by primary intention, with the edges of the wound apposed with sutures or clips. However, some wounds may break open or be left to heal from the bottom up (i.e. healing by secondary intention). Surgical Wounds Healing by Secondary Intention (SWHSI) are often more complex to manage, and require additional treatments during the course of healing. There is significant uncertainty regarding the best treatment for these complex wounds, with limited robust evidence regarding the clinical and cost-effectiveness of different dressings and treatments; one such treatment is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) which is frequently used in the management of SWHSI. Previous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of NPWT have failed to recruit to time and target, thus we aimed to conduct a pilot RCT to assess the feasibility of conducting a future, full-scale RCT. 

Methods: This pilot RCT will test the methods and feasibility of recruiting, randomising, and retaining participants into a larger trial of NPWT verses usual care for patients with SWHSI. Participants will be randomised to receive either NPWT or usual care (no NPWT) and will be followed up for 3 months. 

Discussion: This study will provide a full assessment of methods for, and feasibility of, recruiting, randomising, and retaining patients with SWHSI in a trial of NPWT versus usual care. On the basis of this pilot trial, a full trial may be proposed in the future which will provide additional, robust evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of NPWT in the management of SWHSI. 

Trial registration: Clinical Trial Registry: ISRCTN12761776, registered on 10 December 2015 - retrospective registration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number535
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Healing
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Secondary intention
  • Surgical wounds

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