University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center (UH) has been revealed as the first clinical setting in Ohio using special technology to identify harmful bacteria, leading to healing for patients suffering from chronic wounds.
Windy Cole, medical director of the UH Ahuja Wound Care Center, Cleveland, Ohio, conducted research studies utilising the MolecuLight i:X and is leading the use of the novel device in the state.
“A violet light is shone onto the area of the wound, and it excites bacteria on the surface,” Cole explained. “In real time, different types of bacteria fluoresce different colors, so we can tell if and where tissues have certain bacteria levels. The i:X device can detect bacteria at loads that delay wound healing and go undetected with standard of care wound assessment. This means we are now able to see what’s happening on and below the surface of these wounds, beyond the naked eye and before problems arise.”
Patients with diabetes or poor circulation can develop chronic wounds that do not heal over weeks, months or even years. These wounds are susceptible to infection causing pain for the patient and greatly impacting their quality of life. Patients may need IV antibiotics, hospitalisation, surgery, or worst case, amputation. Preventing the spread of infection is key in order to improve mobility and avoid amputation.
“Most often, patients we are seeing in the wound care center are those with chronic wounds,” said Cole. “We consider chronic wounds to be those that have been open for longer than four weeks. Many of our patients have been through trauma or have systemic diseases such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease or peripheral vascular disease that make the healing process very slow.”
The fluorescence imaging provided by the MolecuLight i:X is considered a crucial addition to existing wound care techniques, as it makes real-time detection of concerning bacterial levels possible, which physicians cannot otherwise see. The MolecuLight i:X imaging procedure is non-invasive, painless and does not involve any radiation or contrast agents.
A wound may look normal to the human eye during an exam, but when a portion of the wound glows red or cyan in an image from the i:X, it reveals that dangerous amounts of bacteria are present. The physician can then treat the affected tissue and/or prescribe medication. Follow-up images with the MolecuLight i:X can also monitor progress, measure wound size, and help guide the patient’s treatment plan.
The MolecuLight i:X received FDA de novo clearance in August 2018 and then 510(k) clearance in December 2019, and Cole is currently using the device in her clinical practice.
It has also been announced that the American Medical Association (AMA) has issued two new CPT category lll codes to enable a reimbursement pathway for point-of-care real-time fluorescence wound imaging for bacterial presence, location and load using the MolecuLight i:X procedure.
Cole commented: “Wound care now has a diagnostic imaging solution that provides clinicians with the real-time detection of clinically significant bacteria. This is a fundamental breakthrough in wound care diagnostic imaging, and we now have a reimbursement pathway to support what I believe will become the standard of care for assessment of all wounds.”