Effect of an arginine-containing nutritional supplement on pressure ulcer healing in community spinal patients.
J Wound Care. 2010 Jul;19(7):311-6. PMID: 20616774
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether or not the use of an arginine-containing nutritional supplement could result in significantly shorter pressure ulcer (PU) healing times in people with spinal cord injuries living in the community, compared with a comparative historical control group.
METHOD: Eighteen spinal-cord-injured patients (all part of a hospital spinal outreach service) received 9 g of a commercial powdered arginine supplement per day until full PU healing occurred. Healing rates were compared against 17 historical control patients (as assessed by medical history audit).
RESULTS: Baseline characteristics (age, gender, injury level and time) were similar between groups. Mean ulcer healing times were 10.5 +/- 1.3 weeks versus 21 +/- 3.7 weeks (p<0.05) in the intervention and control groups respectively. Comparison of healing rates in the intervention group against expected healing rates derived from the medical literature showed that intervention patients had a significantly shorter mean healing time (category 2 PU: 5.5+/-1.3 weeks versus 13.4 weeks; category 3 PU: 12.5 +/- 1.9 weeks versus 18.2 weeks; category 4 PU: 14.4 +/- 4.8 weeks versus 22.1 weeks). A diagnosis of diabetes did not significantly alter healing rates in either group.
CONCLUSION: Results from this observational study show a promising benefit of arginine supplementation on PU healing for individuals with spinal cord injury living in the community.