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The SILKIE (Skin graftIng Low friKtIon Environment) study: a non-randomised proof-of-concept and feasibility study on the impact of low friction nursing environment on skin grafting success rates in adult and paediatric burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere021886
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Early online date14 Jun 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - Jun 2018


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of low friction (LF) bedding on graft loss in an acute burn care setting, and to examine the feasibility, and costs of using LF bedding compared to standard care.

Design: Proof of concept before and after study with feasibility of delivering the intervention.

Setting: Three burns services within two UK hospital trusts.

Participants: Inclusion criteria were patients older than four weeks, who received a skin graft after burn injury and were admitted overnight. The comparator cohort were eligible patients admitted in a 12-month period before the intervention.

Intervention: Introduction of LF sheets and pillowcases during a 15-month period.

Outcome measures: For proof of concept, the LF and comparator cohorts were compared in terms of number of re-grafting operations (primary), percentage graft loss, average hospital length of stay (LoS), and LoS cost (secondary). Feasibility outcomes were practicality and safety of using LF bedding.

Results: 131 patients were eligible for the LF cohort and 90 patients for the comparator cohort. Although the primary outcome of the proportion needing re-grafting was halved in the LF cohort, the confidence interval crossed 1 (OR [95% CI]: 0.56 [0.16-1.88]). Partial graft loss (any loss) was significantly reduced in the LF cohort (0.27 [0.14-0.51]). Average inpatient LoS was no different between the two cohorts (difference in median days [95% CI]: 0 [-2,1]), and the estimated difference in LoS cost was £-1,139 [-4,829 to 2,551]. Practical issues were easily resolved, and no safety incidents occurred while patients were nursed on LF bedding.

Conclusions: LF bedding is safe to use in burned patients with skin grafts and we have shown proof of concept for the intervention. Further economic modelling is required to see if an appropriately powered randomised control trial would be worthwhile or if roll out across the NHS is justified.

Trial registration: ISRCTN82599687

    Research areas

  • skin grafting, low friction, burn injuries, graft loss, burns

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    Licence: CC BY


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