white background
The Science Behind

The unlikely hero

Sometimes, it is the smallest, seemingly most insignificant of moments that have the power to turn your life upside down.

For Scott it came during a football match. Noticing an insect on his leg he carelessly brushed it off, then sprinted back up the pitch. Back home he cleaned it with antiseptic then got on with life as an active, hard-working professional and father to two small children.
Zetuvit Plus being applied to patient’s leg.
From an insect bite to a chronic leg wound

But over time that tiny insect bite developed into chronic leg ulcers; impacting every area of Scott’s life. For the following eight years, wound infections resulted in Scott being hospitalised for at least a month at a time, a minimum of three times a year. For Scott and his family, it was a rough time. “My partner doesn’t drive. So, when I was in hospital I didn’t get to see her or my children very often. It was a very lonely experience.” On top of that, the forced inactivity led to weight gain then type II diabetes and further health complications. And what started with an insect bite turned Scott’s life upside down.

Normal work and home life became impossible as the large amount of exudate from his ulcers meant Scott had to go to his GP surgery four times a day to have his dressings changed. He even had to switch from sleeping in a bed to a chair when it became too costly to keep replacing mattresses ruined by the volume of liquid leaking from his wounds.

“But you know what’s been the worst? When you are in the supermarket and people around you are commenting on the awful smell when you know full well that it is coming from you,” remembers Scott.

But all that was to change when Scott contacted his local Tissue Viability Specialist, David Gray. David knew just the product to help Scott to start to get his life back to normal – me. I’m Zetuvit® Plus, Europe’s most used superabsorbent wound dressing.

I admit I am an unlikely hero. Compared with other innovations in healthcare I might seem a bit inconspicuous. But for people like Scott I have the superabsorbent power to change their lives.
Close shot of the Zetuvit Plus product.
Involving healthcare professionals

It was nurses and caregivers who inspired my design. HARTMANN staff out in the field observed that some healthcare professionals treated patients with heavily exuding wounds by using incontinence products rather than standard wound dressings due to their high absorption capacity. That got HARTMANN scientists thinking.

They teamed up with healthcare professionals in an expert group to find a solution for this obviously unmet need. Together, they found that a product was needed that, as well as delivering high absorption and retention capacity, also offered high softness, flexibility and wearing comfort for the patient.

The result of all that research - the 2007 launch of me, Zetuvit® Plus, for use in the treatment of any medium to highly exuding acute or chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers and ulcerating cancers, or leg ulcers like Scott’s.

Since then I have become the most used dressing for heavily exuding wounds in Europe. The polymers in my structure can absorb large amounts of liquid like wound exudate, and then hold it securely. My non-woven outer wound contact layer is soft so I’m much more comfortable against the skin; and designed to ensure rapid transfer of excessive exudate into the core of the dressing. I also feel nicely padded thanks to the addition of cellulose fluff in my superabsorbent core.
A young father exercising push-ups with his son on his back
Spreading the word

But don’t just take my word for it. On my tenth anniversary last year, HARTMANN commissioned a multi-centre team of external experts to evaluate how effective I am in managing moderate to high exudate. They asked clinicians and patients to evaluate my performance*. Their conclusion: I support improved healing, and reduce damage to the skin surrounding the wound, leading to lower pain levels. 83% of clinicians rated my SAP dressing fluid management as “very good” and 13% rated it “good”. All clinicians who trialled me in the study said that they would continue to use me. But what about Scott?

He is in agreement. Receiving the treatment with me, the dressings now only needed to be changed half as often. Scott says he has been able to return to a normal work routine and his quality of life has improved. Hospitalisations are a thing of the past. Scott has got his life back on track. His only wish is that he had met me earlier.

He says: “If someone else with my condition, or similar, could have told me about how effective Zetuvit® Plus is at controlling exudate; controlling smell and how comfortable it was, I would have changed to that dressing straight away.”

As I said, sometimes it’s the small things in life that can have a significant impact – and turn a wound dressing into an unlikely hero.

* Barrett, S. et al. (2018). A 50 patient observational clinical study of a superabsorbent dressing: effective exudate management with Zetuvit® Plus evaluated by clinicians and patients. Journal of Wound Care vol. 27, no. 2, February 2018

About HARTMANN's 200-year anniversary

In 2018, HARTMANN is celebrating its 200-year anniversary. We are now counting down to our anniversary celebration in June 2018 through a series of articles that show how our employees and partners contribute to advancing healthcare, as well as discussing trends and issues that affect the healthcare systems we serve.