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Vital Wrap — Scientific Evidence
There is significant scientific evidence that the application of heat can be effectivefor pain control, and helps to improve range of motion, and possibly wound healing.
Most insurers, including Medicare (ref 1-2), recognize the benefits of heat: as stated onthe Aetna website "general indications for therapeutic heat include pain, muscle spasm,contracture, tension myalgia, hematoma resolution, bursitis, tenosynovitis, fibrositis,fibromyalgia, superficial thrombophlebitis, and collagen vascular diseases."
Studies on wound healing have clearly shown improvement in wound blood flow andsubcutaneous oxygen tension with the use of localized heat. Which may reduce the riskof post operative infection (ref 5) heat also has been demonstrated to improve joint rangeof motion for joint contracture (ref 6).
Recent studies have shown that a therapeutic heat wrap improves function, and decreasespain in patients with wrist injuries (ref 7), was more effective than ibuprofen andacetaminophen for acute low back pain (ref 8) and significantly improved pain scoresfollowing hernia surgery (ref 9) .
While controlled heat has significant benefits, excessive heat may cause tissue necrosis ifthe temperature exceeds 107ºF. The maximum safe warming temperature is 105°F. Acommon problem with heating pads or micro-waved packs is that they may exceed thismaximum warm temperature and are often difficult to control as therapeutic tools.
Prolonged use with heating pads at maximum settings often leads to tissue damageespecially in an older patient population. The VitalWrap System is designed to deliver themaximum heat therapy at 105°F indefinitely.
It is clear that the VitalWear wrap system is the only
system appropriate for short termand long term care of tissue injury, whether caused by trauma or surgery.
1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care Financing
Administration (HCFA). Durable medical equipment reference list. MedicareCoverage Issues Manual §60-9. Baltimore, MD: HCFA; 1999.
2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care Financing
Administration (HCFA). Medicare Carriers Manual §§2100.1, 2210.3. Baltimore,MD: HCFA; 1999.
3) Basford JR. Physical Agents. In: Rehabilitation Medicine: Principles and Practice.
2nd ed. JA DeLisa, ed. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott Co.; 1993; Ch 18: 404-424.
4) Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI). Hypo/hyperthermia units:
Hyperthermia units, circulating-fluid: Pumps, circulating-fluid. In: HealthcareProduct Comparison System, Hospital Edition. Plymouth Meeting, PA: ECRI;1998.
5) Rabkin JM, Hunt TK. Local heat increases blood flow and oxygen tension in
wounds: Arch Surg. 1987 Feb:122(2):221-5.
6) Usuba M, Miyanaga Y, Miyakawa S, Maeshima T, Shirasaki Y: Effect of heat in
increasing the range of knee motion after the development of a joint contracture:an experiment with an animal model.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006Feb;87(2):247-53.
7) Michlovitz S, Hun L, Erasala GN, Hengehold DA, Weingand KW: Continuous
low-level heat wrap therapy is effective for treating wrist pain. Arch Phys MedRehabil. 2004 Sep;85(9):1409-16.
8) Nadler SF, Steiner DJ, Erasala GN, Hengehold DA, Hinkle RT, Beth Goodale M,
Abeln SB, Weingand KW: Continuous low-level heat wrap therapy providesmore efficacy than Ibuprofen and acetaminophen for acute low back pain. Spine.
2002 May 15;27(10):1012-7.
9) Melling AC, Leaper DJ. The impact of warming on pain and wound healing after
hernia surgery: a preliminary study. J Wound Care. 2006 Mar; 15(3):104-8.
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