The impact of topical agents and dressing on pH and temperature on wound healing: A systematic, narrative review

Publication Name

International Wound Journal


To assess the impact of topical agents and dressings on surface wound pH, temperature, and subsequent wound healing. This was a systematic, narrative review of the literature, following the PRISMA (2020) guidelines. The databases searched were Medline PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Cochrane Library, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus. Data synthesis and analysis were conducted using a structured narrative synthesis. The quality of the included clinical studies was appraised using the Evidence-Based Literature (EBL) Critical Appraisal Tool. A total of six clinical studies were assessed as eligible for inclusion, A total of six dressings/topical agents were assessed and the types of wounds included non-healing chronic wounds. Of the studies, five explored pH and one explored temperature. The EBL validity of the clinical studies was low (mean quality score was 51.3%). The five clinical studies that explored pH investigated different dressings and topical agents reporting an associated reduction in pH and improved wound outcomes. One clinical study investigated the impact of topical sodium nitrite on temperature and found that sodium nitrite increased peri-wound skin temperature and improved wound outcomes with a reduction in leg ulcer size. Given the low certainty of the evidence, we cannot confidently recommend the use of any particular topical agent or dressing to manipulate pH, or temperature to improve wound outcomes. Thus, there is a need for further research to develop a greater understanding of this topic. Irish Research Council, Enterprise Partnership Scheme.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Irish Research Council



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