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BACKGROUND: Nutrition supplements enriched with immune function enhancing nutrients have been developed to aid wound-healing, although evidence regarding their effectiveness is limited and systematic reviews have lead to inconsistent recommendations. The present pragmatic, randomised, prospective open trial evaluated a wound-specific oral nutrition supplement enriched with arginine, vitamin C and zinc compared to a standard supplement with respect to outcomes in patients with chronic wounds in an acute care setting.
METHODS: Twenty-four patients [11 males and 13 females; mean (SD) age: 67.8 (22.3) years] with chronic wounds (14 diabetic or venous ulcers; 10 pressure ulcers or chronic surgical wounds) were randomised to receive either a wound-specific supplement (n = 12) or standard supplement (n = 12) for 4 weeks, with ongoing best wound and nutrition care for an additional 4 weeks. At baseline, and at 4 and 8 weeks, the rate of wound-healing, nutritional status, protein and energy intake, quality of life and product satisfaction were measured. Linear mixed effects modelling with random intercepts and slopes were fitted to determine whether the wound-specific nutritional supplement had any effect.
RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in wound-healing in patients receiving the standard nutrition supplement compared to a wound-specific supplement (P = 0.044), although there was no effect on nutritional status, dietary intake, quality of life and patient satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study indicate that a standard oral nutrition supplement may be more effective at wound-healing than a specialised wound supplement in this clinical setting.