Study of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy as an Adjunctive Treatment for Acute Burns in Children (SONATA in C): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Mr Cody Frear1, Dr Bronwyn Griffin1, Dr Leila Cuttle2, A/Prof Steven McPhail3, Prof Roy Kimble1

1Centre For Children’s Burns And Trauma Research, The University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, 2Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Centre for Children’s Health Research, South Brisbane, Australia, 3Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Public Health & Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Australia


Background: Although Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) has become widely used in the management of several wound types, its efficacy as an adjunctive therapy for acute burns has never been adequately investigated, with research in children particularly lacking. The purpose of this trial is to determine whether NPWT in conjunction with standard therapy accelerates healing, reduces wound progression, and decreases pain in paediatric burns patients more effectively than routine treatment alone.

Methods: A total of 96 children will be recruited for this trial. To be eligible, candidates must be under 17 years of age and present with a thermal burn covering <5% of their total body surface area to the participating hospital within 7 days post-injury. Following a randomised controlled, parallel design, participants will be allocated to either an active control or intervention group. The former will receive standard therapy consisting of Acticoat™ and Mepitel™, secured with Hypafix™. The intervention arm will be treated with silver-impregnated dressings in addition to NPWT. Participants will undergo dressing changes every 3-5 days until the point of healing. The primary endpoint will be time to re-epithelialisation. Secondary outcomes include pain, wound progression, pruritus, cost effectiveness, treatment satisfaction, and adverse events. Wound fluid collected during NPWT will also be analysed to generate a proteomic profile of the burn microenvironment.

Discussion: The study will be the first randomised controlled trial to explore the effects of NPWT on paediatric burns, with the aim of determining whether the therapy warrants implementation as an adjunct to standard burns management.


Cody C. Frear is an MD/PhD candidate at the University of Queensland whose research focuses on paediatric burns.

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