Definition of Terms


Acute Wound

An acute wound is tissue damage caused by a sudden and traumatic event, such as an accident, surgical wound, or injury caused by heat, friction or chemicals. Acute wounds are expected to heal through the four phases of normal healing without any complications, resulting in wound closure. Examples of acute wounds include lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions, and surgical incisions.

The healing process of an acute wound consists of four distinct phases: haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodelling. Haemostasis is the first phase, during which the body forms a clot to stop bleeding. Inflammation is the second phase, during which the body removes debris and bacteria from the wound and prepares it for healing. The proliferation phase involves the formation of new tissue and the production of extracellular matrix components. The final phase, remodelling, is characterised by the maturation of the new tissue and the restructuring of the extracellular matrix.

Proper wound care, such as cleaning the wound, applying an appropriate dressing, and monitoring for signs of infection, can help ensure that acute wounds heal properly and without complications.

Chronic Wound

A chronic wound fails to heal within the normal healing time frame of four weeks and remains locked in the inflammatory phase. Chronic wounds can persist for months or even years and are often associated with underlying health conditions. Examples of chronic wounds include pressure ulcers, venous ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, and arterial ulcers.

The failure of chronic wounds to progress to the proliferation and remodelling phases can be due to various factors, including poor nutrition, underlying health conditions such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, medications that impair the healing process, and inappropriate wound care, such as using the wrong type of dressing or failing to manage infection.

The treatment of chronic wounds often involves addressing the underlying cause of the wound, such as managing diabetes or improving nutrition. Wound care for chronic wounds may also involve the use of specialised dressings, negative pressure wound therapy, or other advanced wound care techniques to promote healing. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or promote the growth of new tissue.

In conclusion, acute wounds and chronic wounds differ in their causes, healing processes, and treatment approaches. While acute wounds typically heal without complications, chronic wounds require specialised care and attention to promote healing and prevent complications.