Delayed Healing of Chronic Wounds Associated with Fungal Communities

Chronic wounds including diabetic foot ulcers are hard to heal. A recent research study published in mBio found that fungal communities contribute to the delayed healing of chronic wounds. In their latest study, researchers in Pennsylvania and Iowa have provided a deep characterization of the fungi found in diabetic foot ulcers. The team discovered that fungal communities in chronic wounds can form mixed bacterial-fungal biofilms and lead to poor outcomes and longer healing times.

For the study purpose, 100 foot ulcer patients with open wounds on the bottom of the foot were observed during the course of 26 weeks. The findings highlight that fungal components of the microbiome play a key role in hampering chronic wound healing.

Key findings are:

  • 80 percent of the wounds harbored fungi – much higher than previous estimates – from 284 different species.
  • The most abundant fungus, Cladosporium herbarum, was found in 41percent of the samples.
  • Human pathogen Candida albicans was the next most abundant, in a little over one-fifth of the samples.

With the study, it was made clear that no single species of fungi was associated with poor outcomes, but rather mixed communities were associated with slow healing or complications such as bone infection and amputation.

The study is considered as a first step towards better understanding chronic wounds and it is crucial to develop better ways to treat them. According to the lead author of the study, “There are polymicrobial interactions within these wounds. It’s important to look at the fungal and bacterial communities and how they interact with each other and the immune system to impair or promote healing.”

How Wound EMR Assists Wound Care

An advanced and customized wound care EMR can contribute to a more comprehensive approach in treating chronic wounds. Adequate documentation from the nurse and the physician side is important in treating chronic wounds. WoundWizard, an advanced wound care EMR features separate nurse and physician modules with Outcome reporting that allows all levels of wound management as well as treatment based wound improvement documentation. The software’s 3D Wound Models can easily mark where the wound is located on your patient, allowing for easier treatment and diagnosis of multiple wound sites.