HumanInsight Telemedicine for Preventing and Treating Pressure Injury After Spinal Cord Injury: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
J Med Internet Res. 2022 Sep 7;24(9):e37618. doi: 10.2196/37618.
BACKGROUND: Pressure injury is a common complication after a spinal cord injury. Long-term multidisciplinary follow-up is difficult after such patients have been discharged. Telemedicine promises to provide convenient and effective support for the prevention and treatment of pressure injury, but previous attempts to demonstrate that have produced inconsistent results.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of telemedicine in preventing and treating pressure injury among community-dwelling patients with spinal cord injury, and determine which telemedicine form is more effective.
METHODS: This systematic review was performed according to the PRISMA-NMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Network Meta-Analysis) standards. Ten databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies related to the effectiveness of telemedicine intervention in patients with spinal cord injury. Two researchers worked independently and blindly selected studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. The results were described as relative risk (RR) and weighted mean difference and 95% CI.
RESULTS: The 35 studies comprised 25 randomized controlled trials and 10 quasi-experimental studies involving 3131 patients. The results showed that telemedicine can significantly (P<.05) reduce the incidence of pressure injury (RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.14-0.41; P<.05; I2=0%), promote faster healing (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.62-0.85; P<.05; I2=0%), and yield lower scores on the pressure ulcer scale of healing (weighted mean difference=-1.98, 95% CI -3.51 to -0.46; P<.05; I2=0%). Cumulative ranking estimates showed that combining telemedicine with conventional intervention (93.5%) was the most effective approach.
CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine is a feasible way to prevent pressure injury among patients with spinal cord injuries. It can decrease the incidence and severity of pressure injury and accelerate patients' healing without imposing economic burden. It is best used in tandem with other, more conventional interventions. Due to the limited quality and quantity of included studies, large-scale and well-designed randomized controlled trials are warranted.
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