Hyaluric acid derivatives may promote healing of diabetic foot ulcers

Hyaluric acid derivatives

A recent systematic review looked at whether hyaluronic acid derivatives can be effective in dressings to promote wound healing.

Clinical question:

In people with burns or surgical or chronic wounds, do hyaluronic acid derivatives improve healing?

The outcomes of interest were the percentage of patients whose wounds healed completely and the reduction in wound size.

The evidence:

The reviewers found nine randomised trials looking at hyaluronic acid derivatives in wound healing.  The trials differed in their preparations and in their use of active or placebo controls.

However, the reviewers concluded that:

Hyaluric acid derivatives healed diabetic foot ulcers significantly faster than standard care.

Appraisal hints:

Users of this research should consider:

  • Was there  a clearly focused, prospective protocol for this review?
  • Did they do enough to try to find all of the relevant research?
  • Did they do enough to ensure that only unbiased research was included in the analysis?
  • Were the methods of data extration and meta-analysis appropriate?
  • Did the reviewers report the results of all of their analyses or only the ones that turned out as significant?
  • Was there any important heterogeneity between the studies?  Not all of them looked at diabetic wound healing, for example.
  • What were the comparisons?  Were they representative of the likely alternative treatment in your setting?


Voigt J, Driver VR. Hyaluronic acid derivatives and their healing effect on burns, epithelial surgical wounds, and chronic wounds: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Wound Repair Regen. 2012 May;20(3):317-31.

Douglas Badenoch
I am an information scientist with an interest in making knowledge from systematic research more accessible to people who need it. This means you. I've been attempting this in the area of Evidence-Based Health Care since 1995. So far the results have been mixed. For some reason we expected busy clinicians to search databases and appraise papers instead of seeing patients. We also expected publishers to make the research freely available to the people who paid for it.. Ha! Hence The National Elf service.

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