Nursing Education Update – Managing Wound Exudate

Wound care remains a core function for most Nurses and Nurses understand the  myriad of issues often involved with managing Wound Exudate. Reduction of exudate is reliant upon the successful management of the underlying cause. Nurses manage wound exudate through the use of appropriate wound care products including topical agents.

There are more than 3000 different wound care products on the market so it’s no wonder  Nurses can be overwhelmed with determining the best  wound care product to manage wound exudate.

I came across this clinical practice article that I thought may be of interest to  Nurses who deal with wounds. It‘s enclosed  for your reference. The article, from Wounds International  Managing High Viscosity Exudate provides good practical information to support your role.

The article reiterates the importance of assessing the wound and notes that  any increase in odour, consistency or exudate production should prompt further review.

In regards to the consistency of exudate did you know:

Consistency of Wound  Exudate

Low viscosity (thin & runny) wound exudate indicates low protein content
High viscosity ( thick a& sometimes sticky) wound exudate indicates high protein content – which may be from á bacteria levels or the inflammatory process


Serous – thin, watery and clear or amber in colour. May be considered ‘normal’ however aná may indicate Staphylococcus aureus infection
Fibrinous – thin, watery and cloudy in colour. May indicate fibrin strands present
Serosanguineous – thin, a little thicker than water and clear or pink in colour. Indicates the presence of red blood cells and capillary  damage from e.g. traumatic dressing removal or surgery
Sanguineous – thin,watery and red in colour.  May indicate low protein content due to malnutrition, venous or congestive cardiac failure or a fistula
Seropurulent – viscous ,sticky, cloudy and yellow/tan in colour. May indicate a bacterial infection  and or the presence of necrotic liquefying tissue or material from a fistula
Purulent – viscous,sticky and opaque, milky, yellow, brown or green in colour. May indicate white cells in wound, bacterial infection,  slough or material from a fistula
Haemopurulent – viscous and reddish, milky in colour. May indicate an infection and contains neutrophils, bacteria, inflammatory cells and  blood leakage due to dermal capillaries
Haemorrhagic – viscious and dark red in colour. May indicate a bacterial infection and capillary damage associated with trauma

The article also identifies the following  variables to consider when selecting a product to  address Wound Exudate.The Product should:

  • “Prevent leakage between dressing changes
  • Prevent strikethough
  • Ensure protection from excoriation/maceration
  • If used under compression, have the ability to retain absorbed fluid under pressure
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Stays Minimises trauma and pain on removal
  • Low allergy potential
  • Comofrtable and conformable
  • Cost-effective”

The Nurses for Nurses Network has a great range of Nursing Education and Nursing activities related to wound care. The sessions are focused on Nurses who need to know about managing wound care in the ‘real world’ where Nurses are often time poor and resource limited!

Reference: Managing HIgh Viscosity Exudate Vol6 Issue 1 Wounds International 2015 ( Accessed 11th March 2015)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *