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Papers of the Week

2019 Nov 15

Medicines (Basel)



Itch in Chronic Wounds: Pathophysiology, Impact, and Management.


Iannone M, Janowska A, Dini V, Tonini G, Oranges T, Romanelli M
Medicines (Basel). 2019 Nov 15; 6(4).
PMID: 31731706.


The aims of this review are to analyze the current literature regarding the characteristics and pathophysiological mechanisms of itch in chronic wounds, to assess the impact on quality of life and delayed-healing, to focus on the best strategies of prevention and treatment, to highlight the importance of on-going research in order to fully understand the pathophysiology, and to improve the management of target therapies. A systematic literature review was performed using MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Scopus, ScienceDirect, and the Cochrane Library. We included a total of 11 articles written in English with relevant information on the pathophysiology of itch in chronic wounds and on management strategies. Itch in chronic wounds was found to be correlated with xerosis, larger wound areas, necrotic tissue and amount of exudate, peripheral tissue edema, sclerosis, granulation tissue, contact dermatitis, and bacterial burden, as well as with lower quality of life. Although there are several aspecific pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, there appears to be no validated prevention or management strategy for itch in chronic wounds. Further studies are needed to clarify the association and pathophysiology of itch in chronic wounds, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical treatments on perilesional skin to reduce itch, to characterize multidimensional sensations of itch in chronic wounds, to identify specific cytokine and chemokine expressions that are correlated to a tailored-based approach, and to develop practical guidelines.