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Alginate dressings

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VOL: 101, ISSUE: 28, PAGE NO: 31

Generic and proprietary names

 

Generic and proprietary names
- ActivHeal Alginate.

 

 

- Algisite.

 

 

- Algosteril.

 

 

- Curasorb.

 

 

- Kaltostat.

 

 

- Melgisorb.

 

 

- Seasorb.

 

 

- Sorbsan.

 

 

- Tegagen.

 

 

- Urgosorb.

 

 

Action
- These wound dressings absorb fluid into their fibres and the space between the fibres, thus controlling the state of hydration of the wound.

 

 

- The dressing is dry until it comes into contact with wound exudate, when it forms a gel.

 

 

Indications
- To be used on moderately or heavily exuding wounds.

 

 

- Can be used on superficial or cavity wounds.

 

 

- Some alginates may be used for their haemostatic properties (ability to stop bleeding).

 

 

Classification
- Wound management products.

 

 

Contraindications
- Eschars.

 

 

- Dry wounds.

 

 

- Any history of sensitivity to alginate dressings.

 

 

Administration
- Available as flat dressings or rope in a variety of sizes.

 

 

- The dressing is applied directly to the wound.

 

 

- Some products should not be allowed to overlap onto skin that is intact because they may cause maceration and excoriation.

 

 

- In cavities, the dressing should be loosely packed because it will swell and tight packing may result in too much pressure on the wound bed.

 

 

- Individual manufacturers’ instructions should be consulted regarding application.

 

 

- Dressings that have become stuck can be soaked off with saline or a low-force shower.

 

 

Interactions
- Topical antibiotic or antimicrobial agents may interfere with the gelling process.

 

 

Nursing considerations
- Gelling characteristics of dressings and absorbency vary between products.

 

 

- There have been few trials conducted on the advantages of one product over another. The choice of dressing may depend on local availability, personal experience and patient choice.

 

 

- Some alginates are suitable for use on infected wounds in conjunction with antibiotics and careful monitoring. In these cases daily dressing changes are normally necessary.

 

 

Patient teaching
- In most cases, these dressings benefit from pain-free removal.

 

 

- Explain the principles of moist wound healing and why this dressing has been chosen.

 

 

- Ensure that the patient knows when her or his next appointment for wound redressing is and what action to take if the dressing becomes compromised beforehand.

 

 

- Nurses should refer to manufacturer’s summary of product characteristics and to appropriate local guidelines

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