Vacuum-Assisted Wound Closure Achieves Early Fascial Closure of Open Abdomens after Severe Trauma

James W. Suliburk, Drue N. Ware, Zsolt Balogh, Bruce A. McKinley, Christine S Cocanour, Rosemary A. Kozar, Frederick A. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Background: This study reviews the efficacy of vacuum-assisted wound closure (VAWC) to obtain primary fascial closure of open abdomens after severe trauma. Methods: The study population included shock resuscitation patients who had open abdomens treated with VAWC. The VAWC dressing was changed at 2- to 3-day intervals and downsized as fascial closure was completed with interrupted suture. The Trauma Research Database and the medical records were reviewed for pertinent data. Results: Over 26 months, 35 patients with open abdomens were managed by VAWC. Six died early, leaving 29 patients who were discharged. Of these, 25 (86%) were successfully closed using VAWC at a mean of 7 ± 1 days (range, 3-18 days). Of the four patients that failed VAWC, two developed fistulas. No patients developed evisceration, intra-abdominal abscess, or wound infection. Conclusion: VAWC achieved early fascial closure in a high percentage of open abdomens, with an acceptable rate of complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal compartment syndrome
  • Damage control
  • Fascial closure
  • Open abdomen
  • Vacuum-assisted wound closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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