Exudating illness dating
Care should be taken when reviewing the quantity of exudate to allow for increases in fluid levels due to other causes such as the debridement of necrotic tissue by autolysis/rehydration - or reduction in fluid levels where lower limb oedema is reduced by the use of compression bandaging.
These two simple but common examples demonstrate how fluid levels in and around the wound may change without affecting the true exudate levels.
The majority of dressings used to manage exudate will be absorbers of some kind.
They may also have the capacity to evaporate some fluid through the back of the dressing, although this is usually a very small amount of fluid.
While practitioners may believe they understand these terms, Thomas et al (1996) showed that even highly experienced practitioners were unable to objectively estimate the amount of exudate or agree on whether the amount was low, moderate or high.Managing exudate and maintaining a wound environment that is moist but not wet is a constant challenge.- Maintaining the optimum moist environment necessary for cellular activity and movement (Winter, 1962); - Carrying white blood cells; - Forming part of the primary defence against invading micro-organisms; - Facilitating the movement of other key cells such as macrophages (which have a major role in clearing debris from the wounded area) to where they are most needed.Sibbald et al (2000) proposed serous-serum, sanguineous-blood, purulent-infection and a combination.It is interesting to note that these authors all see consistency as a good indicator of the presence of infection.
Wound exudate is produced as a normal part of the healing process.