A Summary of Posters Presented at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care: 2003 and 2004
To develop and use wound care products effectively, manufacturers and clinicians must keep abreast of the activities of leading industrial suppliers and practitioners. Over the years, the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) has been a magnet for the movers and shakers of the wound care industry. The educational and product information emphasized at this conference provide a major resource tool in understanding the state of the wound care market.
The poster exhibit at the SAWC is an important measure of where industry and key practitioners are concentrating their efforts. A review and analysis of the posters presented at the 2003 and 2004 conferences and a look back at previous conferences offer insights into the wound care market and practice.
The author attended the poster sessions offered as part of the 2004 Symposium, collecting handouts from poster presenters and using the SAWC Oral and Poster Abstract syllabus, which were available to Symposium attendees, as an additional reference. To measure marketing interest, the number of posters featured in specific subject areas was examined. These included:
• Silver products
• Devices — This designation does not refer to the FDA classification, which classifies most wound care products as devices. In this case, the designation of device refers to a product that utilizes a mechanical, electrical, or other physical construction to manipulate the wound care environment — eg, negative pressure or electrical stimulation apparatuses
• Biological products excluding enzyme products
• Antimicrobial and antibacterial products, excluding silver
• Absorbent products
• Other products such as gels, films, and nutritional products
Classification. Posters were classified by topic using the poster abstracts. When the abstract was unclear and the full poster was available (provided as a handout at the conference), the full poster was used to classify the poster. In a few cases, it was necessary to extract key words from the abstract and search the Internet in order to identify the product referred to in the poster.
Analysis. After the posters were classified, an Excel spreadsheet was created that summarized all of the posters exhibited at each year’s conference. This spreadsheet was subjected to a series of sorts in order to generate the data presented in this paper (see Figure 1 and Tables 1 and 2).
Even though the total number of posters exhibited was lower in 2004 than in 2003 (see Table 1), the number of 2004 posters featuring wound care products increased. In 2002, 120 posters were accepted for presentation at the conference. By 2004, more product-oriented posters were displayed than the total number of posters displayed in 2002. Posters often are supported by manufacturers as a means of presenting information about the performance of wound care products. Because the number of posters featuring products increased by 15% from 2003 to 2004, it appears that the wound care industry has recognized that this forum represents a powerful marketing tool and has committed additional resources to it.
Silver and device-type product posters have come to dominate the poster sessions in the past 2 years. This is a clear indication of where the industry is concentrating its marketing efforts and where practitioners’ interests are focused in order to gain an understanding of how these products can improve chronic wound care treatment.
In 2003, a higher percentage of product-oriented posters featured silver products compared to posters on devices (see Table 2). This changed in 2004, when more than 25% of the product-oriented posters featured devices (eg, negative pressure wound therapy [NPWT] and electrical stimulation). It is also meaningful that 15 (46.9%) of the device posters presented in 2004 featured NPWT (V.A.C.® System, KCI USA, San Antonio, Tex.) and that four (slightly more than 25%) of these posters featured the NPWT being used with another product (see Table 3). This indicates that dressing and other device manufacturers are accepting the success of NPWT and are beginning to market their products as adjunctive to or supportive of this therapeutic approach.
Two additional categories examined were biological and antimicrobial/antibiotic products. Biological dressings apparently are not capturing the imagination of the market as anticipated just a few years ago. The topics of skin substitutes and growth factor products have not been increasing at a significant rate in the poster sessions. In fact, in 2004, only four of the 19 posters exhibited on biological products featured skin substitutes and none of the posters featured a growth factor product (see Table 4).
The posters on antimicrobial and antibiotic products seem to indicate that, at the present time, the function of controlling bioload in the wound bed is dominated by silver products (see Table 2).
Eleven of the 13 posters that reported the results of in vitro product studies exhibited in 2004 were reviewed from a full poster handout. With the exception of one poster, all of these focused on measuring moisture absorption (including fluid handling properties) or antimicrobial activity. When evaluating information obtained from these studies, clinicians should carefully consider the measurement techniques used and relate the results to conditions they observe while treating wounds.
Study type. Oral and poster abstracts submitted for presentation at the Symposium are classified by their authors as clinical research, laboratory research, case studies, and informational/educational reports. Table 5 shows that Case Studies represent the largest number of product related posters. The percentage of product posters devoted to Case Studies increased from 40% to 51% in 2004 versus 2003.
No animal studies were exhibited at the 2004 poster session. It is the author’s opinion that the lack of animal studies can be related to the following issues:
• Difficulty in establishing baseline comparative data
• Difficulty in establishing controlled conditions
• The political environment
• The cost of conducting these studies
• A combination of these factors.
Poster presentations in 2000. A brief review of posters exhibited at the SAWC in 2000 and comparison to the exhibit is 2003 afforded the opportunity to get a better feeling for industry thinking about the state of the current wound care market. The message seems clear: Most of the “action” is in the area of manipulating the wound environment by utilizing a mechanical device and/or reducing microbial contamination in the wound by applying dressings that contain silver. Five years ago, these approaches received little or no mention.
Given the history of the SAWC poster exhibit and the information that can be gleaned by perusing the displays, industry representatives and practitioners should plan to schedule time to study the posters exhibited at this year’s Symposium.