Atkin, Leanne (2014) Understanding methods of wound debridement. British journal of nursing, 23 (sup12). S10-S15. ISSN 0966-0461

Autolytic debridement describes the body's natural method of wound-bed cleansing, helping it to prepare the wound bed for healing. In acute wounds, autolytic debridement occurs automatically and often does not require intervention, as during the inflammatory stage of a wound, neutrophils and macrophages digest and removes devitalised tissue, cell debris and contaminants, clearing the wound of any cellular barriers to healing. In chronic wounds, by contrast, healing is often delayed, frequently because of inadequate debridement. The autolytic process becomes overwhelmed by high levels of endotoxins released from damaged tissue (Broadus, 2013). Therefore wound debridement becomes an integral part of chronic-wound management and practitioners involved in wound care must be fully competent at wound-bed assessment and have an awareness of the options available for debridement. This article will review wound-bed assessment, highlighting variations in devitalised tissue, and explore options available for wound debridement, taking into consideration patients’ pain and quality of life.

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