The use of pulsed radio frequency energy therapy in treating lower extremity wounds: Results of a retrospective study of a wound registry

Robert G. Frykberg, Vickie R. Driver, Lawrence A. Lavery, David G. Armstrong, Richard A. Isenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Pulsed radio frequency energy (PRFE) has been shown to stimulate cultured epidermal cells in vitro, inciting a cascade of cytokines, cyclins, growth factors, and other gene products associated with wound healing. A retrospective, descriptive study was conducted to evaluate the effect of PRFE on healing lower extremity wounds. Using data from a patient registry of 510 wounds in 413 patients, information was abstracted on patients with lower extremity wounds treated with PRFE for at least 4 weeks between 2005 and 2008 and who were evaluated 4 weeks after the start of treatment; wound size reduction was calculated. Patients with peripheral vascular disease, renal disease, poor glucose control, immune-compromise, large or deep wounds were not excluded. Of the 128 wounds (in 113 patients) that met the eligibility criteria, 35 were diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), 42 were venous leg ulcers (VLUs), 34 were Stage II to Stage IV pressure ulcers (PUs), and 27 were other types of chronic wounds. Most patients were men (91%), receiving outpatient care (70%), and elderly (mean age 67 ± 11 years, median 64, range 41-89). Mean wound duration before starting PRFE was 29 ± 86 months (median 10, range 1-756). Mean percent reduction in wound area after 4 weeks was 49% ± 6% for pressure (P <0.0001), 38% ± 6% for diabetic (P <0.0001), 44% ± 5% for venous (P <0.0001), and 39% ± 9% for wounds of various other etiologies (P = 0.0001). The median wound reduction rate was 0.08 cm2/day (range -4.14-2.21). A considerable percentage of wounds reached > 50% reduction in size at 4 weeks (DFU 40%, VLU 43%, PU 59%), suggesting that a large proportion of these PRFE-treated wounds wound have healed with ongoing therapy. Additional studies to evaluate the safety, effectiveness, and efficacy of this treatment modality in the management of chronic wounds are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalOstomy Wound Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • percent area wound reduction
  • pulsed radio frequency energy
  • retrospective descriptive study
  • wound registry
  • wounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Nursing
  • Gastroenterology


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