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The effect of different doses of an arginine-containing supplement on the healing of pressure ulcers

journal contribution
posted on 2012-03-01, 00:00 authored by B Leigh, Kate DesnevesKate Desneves, J Rafferty, L Pearce, S King, M Woodward, D Brown, R Martin, Timothy Crowe
Objective: To investigate if a lower dose of arginine in the form of an oral nutritional supplement can show similar benefit in the healing rate of pressure ulcers compared with the current evidence for 9g of arginine.

Method: Twenty-three inpatients with category II, III or IV pressure ulcers were randomised to receive daily, for 3 weeks, the standard hospital diet plus 4.5 or 9g arginine in the form of a commercial supplement. Pressure ulcer size and severity was measured weekly (by PUSH tool; pressure ulcer scale for healing; 0= completely healed, 17= greatest severity). Nutritional status was determined by Subjective Global Assessment.

Results: There were no significant differences in patients’ age, gender, BMI, haemoglobin levels, albumin levels and diagnosis of diabetes between treatment groups. There was a significant decrease in pressure ulcer severity over time (p < 0.001), with no evidence of a difference in healing rate between the two arginine dosages (p=0.991). Based on expected healing time, patients in both treatment groups were estimated to achieve an almost 2-fold improvement compared with the historical control group. Patients categorised as malnourished showed clinically significant impaired healing rates compared with wellnourished patients (p=0.057), although this was unaffected by arginine dosage (p=0.727).

Conclusion: Similar clinical benefits in healing of pressure ulcers can be achieved with a lower dosage of arginine, which can translate into improved concordance and significant cost-savings for both the health-care facilities and for patients.



Journal of wound care






150 - 156


Mark Allen Publishing


London, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article