Wound odor: current methods of treatment and need for objective measures

Evan S. Darwin, Erica R. Thaler, Hadar Lev-Tov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chronic wounds are an enormous burden to society, costing billions of dollars annually in the USA alone. Despite the extensive research into methods to heal chronic wounds, many remain unhealed for months to years. There is a need to focus on patient reported outcomes to improve quality of life in patients with non-healing wounds. Wound odor has a significant impact on patient quality of life; however, relatively little information is available on the management of wound odor. We review the current data available on wound odor and discuss the need for standardized objective measures of odor to improve research quality. An independent search of the PubMed and Embase databases was conducted using combinations of the following words or phrases: "wounds," "chronic wounds," "diabetic ulcers," "venous leg ulcers (VLUs)," "malignant ulcers," "odor," "odour," "smell," "malodor," "artificial olfaction," "electronic nose," and "e-nose." Article references were also searched for significance. There are few overall studies on wound odor, and fewer randomized controlled trials. Current trials on odor have consistent weaknesses such as subjective measures and poor methodology. No single odor treatment modality has been demonstrated to be widely effective for wound odor or superior to other methods. Future research should incorporate objective measures of odor such as electronic noses into clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-136
Number of pages10
JournalGiornale italiano di dermatologia e venereologia : organo ufficiale, Societa italiana di dermatologia e sifilografia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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