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Enhanced Ultrasound Treatment of Chronic Wounds With Monitoring of Healing and Quality of Life Outcomes

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03041844
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : February 3, 2017
Last Update Posted : July 24, 2020
University of Pennsylvania
Temple University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Drexel University

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of low frequency, low intensity ultrasound treatment on wound healing and health-related quality of life with a randomized clinical trial of patients with venous ulcers or diabetic ulcers.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Diabetic Foot Ulcer Venous Ulcer Device: Low Frequency, Low Intensity Ultrasound Device: Sham Applicator Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The two most common types of chronic wounds are venous ulcers (VUs) and diabetic ulcers (DUs). The investigators will conduct the first double-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effect of low-frequency, low-intensity (LFLI) ultrasound (US) on chronic wound healing and health related quality of life (HRQOL) with high statistical confidence (α < 0.05, power > 0.90, n=60 VUs, n=60 DUs). The investigators' approach combines this active therapy with non-invasive diagnostic monitoring of wound hemodynamics throughout the treatment cycle, and includes analysis of the impact of nutritional status and inflammation on wound closure. There are several innovative aspects of this work. Specifically, (1) The lightweight, battery-powered applicator is the first potentially wearable ultrasound wound therapy device that is safe to apply for extended periods of time. (2) The applicator actively promotes healing, which is fundamentally different from commercial ultrasonic systems that remove necrotic tissue only. (3) The study approach will link LFLI US exposure to changes in wound hemodynamics and HRQOL, which has the potential to enable personalized medicine. (4) The analysis of patient nutritional and systemic inflammatory status may enable further treatment customization by identifying those patients most likely to benefit from LFLI US therapy. (5) The study approach incorporates both disease-specific and generic measures of HRQOL, which is unique for a therapeutic ultrasound RCT.

The low-frequency, low-intensity (20 kiloHertz (kHz), <100 milliWatt per square centimeter (mW/cm2) spatial peak-temporal peak), portable ultrasound applicator is lightweight (<25g) and permits safe and clinically pragmatic wound treatment. The field parameters of the US device were previously optimized for venous ulcers, and three recent pilot clinical human studies (VUs: n=20, n=25; DUs: n=10) demonstrated that the treatment improved healing by 15% per week compared to sham treatment. The investigators therefore anticipate that our treatment will accelerate closure of chronic wounds, and hypothesize that (1) LFLI US will improve generic and disease-specific HRQOL scores, (2) LFLI US will activate beneficial changes in the microvasculature of the wound and surrounding tissue, and (3) individuals with poor nutrition and high levels of inflammation will have delayed wound healing.

The specific aims are to: (1) Assess the effect of LFLI US on VUs and DUs by measuring wound closure as a primary endpoint and generic and disease-specific HRQOL as secondary endpoints. (2) Monitor the effects of LFLI US on wound perfusion and oxygenation using non-invasive optical methods, and (3) Determine the impact of nutritional status and inflammation on closure of DUs and VUs. Overall, this work will validate LFLI US as a safe, portable, and cost-effective therapy for chronic wounds. This is important because new therapies and improved clinical paradigms for wound management are urgently needed. Over the long-term, the study findings may enable the development of personalized wound treatment regimens across care settings.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 120 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Study Start Date : January 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : August 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date : September 2021

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Low Frequency, Low Intensity Ultrasound
Low Frequency, Low Intensity therapeutic ultrasound applied weekly for up to 16 weeks.
Device: Low Frequency, Low Intensity Ultrasound
Therapeutic ultrasound (20 kHz, <100 mW/cm2 spatial peak-temporal peak)

Sham Comparator: Sham Ultrasound
Sham ultrasound applied weekly for up to 16 weeks.
Device: Sham Applicator
Sham ultrasound applicator

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in wound size [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
    Percentage change in wound size over 4 weeks

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Wound closure [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Complete wound closure at 16 weeks

  2. Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) [ Time Frame: 16 weeks, then 6 and 12 months after last treatment ]
    Short form health survey will be administered to assess changes in HRQOL

  3. Wound Quality of Life (WQOL) [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Health survey will be administered to assess changes in wound-related HRQOL

  4. Wound oxyhemoglobin concentration change [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Change in wound oxyhemoglobin concentration per week, measured with diffuse near infrared spectroscopy (DNIRS)

  5. Microcirculatory blood flow index change [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Change in microcirculatory blood flow index per week, measured with diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Have a venous ulcer (VU) or diabetic ulcer (DU) that has been documented for at least 8 weeks without complete re-epithelialization and is larger than 0.75 cm2 in size.
  • VUs must be present on the lower extremities non-weight-bearing areas.
  • DUs must be present on the ankle or foot and be secondary to complications from diabetes.
  • Patients with DUs must have a documented history of diabetes mellitus of at least six months.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • VUs secondary to any connective tissue disorder or blood dyscrasias.
  • Severe vascular insufficiency (ankle-brachial index lower than 0.75 or toe-brachial index below 0.5).
  • Active, untreated infection
  • Acute deep venous thrombosis
  • Cutaneous malignancy present on the involved extremity
  • Active (or past 6 months) cancer treatment
  • Presence of both a diabetic ulcer and a venous ulcer on the same extremity
  • Known allergy to Tegaderm (a polyurethane dressing)
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals younger than 18 years of age regardless of emancipation status
  • Prisoners
  • Individuals unable to speak English, Spanish, or Mandarin
  • Adults unable to consent

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03041844

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Contact: Michael S Weingarten, MD 215-762-7008

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United States, Pennsylvania
Drexel University College of Medicine Recruiting
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19102
Contact: Michael S Weingarten, MD    215-762-7008   
Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Recruiting
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19107
Contact: James McGuire, DPM    215-625-5387   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Drexel University
University of Pennsylvania
Temple University
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Principal Investigator: Peter A Lewin, PhD Drexel University
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Responsible Party: Drexel University Identifier: NCT03041844    
Other Study ID Numbers: 1609004864
First Posted: February 3, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 24, 2020
Last Verified: July 2020
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Keywords provided by Drexel University:
therapeutic ultrasound
quality of life
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Diabetic Foot
Varicose Ulcer
Foot Ulcer
Pathologic Processes
Diabetic Angiopathies
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Leg Ulcer
Skin Ulcer
Skin Diseases
Diabetes Complications
Diabetes Mellitus
Endocrine System Diseases
Diabetic Neuropathies
Foot Diseases
Varicose Veins