Posts Tagged ‘Basic Wound Care Applications’

Exudate: The Type and Amount Is Telling You Something

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Wound care clinicians need to know about the different types of exudate – and how much is present – for successful wound treatment and healing.

Know Your Exudate

Ooze. Pus. Secretion. The drainage that seeps out of wounds can be called many things, but as wound care clinicians know, the technical term is exudate. This liquid, which is produced by the body in response to tissue damage, can tell us what we need to know about the wound. And while we want wounds to be moist, we don’t want them to be overly moist. Finding that balance can sometimes be a bit tricky – which is why it’s so important to know all about exudate.

Types of Exudate

First, let’s start with the types of exudate we most commonly see in our patients’ wounds. They are:

  • Serous – a clear, thin and watery plasma. It’s normal during the inflammatory stage of wound healing, and smaller amounts are considered normal. However, a moderate to heavy amount may indicate a high bioburden.
  • Sanguinous – a fresh bleeding, seen in deep partial- and full-thickness wounds. A small amount is normal during the inflammatory stage.
  • Serosanguineous – thin, watery and pale red to pink in color.
  • Seropurulent – thin, watery, cloudy and yellow to tan in color.
  • Purulent – a thick and opaque exudate that is tan, yellow, green or brown in color. It’s never normal in a wound bed, and is often associated with infection or high bacteria levels.

Quantity of Exudate

Besides knowing the different types of exudate, you also need to be aware of the amount present in your patients’ wounds. This can be key for proper assessment, and help you choose the best wound treatment. The different exudate levels include:

  • None present – the wound is dry.
  • Scant amount present – the wound is moist, even though no measurable amount of exudate appears on the dressing.
  • Small or minimal amount on the dressing – exudate covers less than 25% of the bandage.
  • Moderate amount  – wound tissues are wet, and exudate involves 25% to 75% of the bandage.
  • Large or copious amount – wound tissue is filled with fluid, and exudate covers more than 75% of the bandage.

Always take into account the amount of exudate when selecting the dressing. We want to promote moist wound healing, but with no adverse effects from too much moisture, such as maceration of the periwound.

What do you think?

When it comes to documenting exudate, do you see one type being identified more than others – like the well-known serosanguineous? And what about the amount of drainage – do you use the terms listed above, or does your clinic use percentages instead? We would love to hear how your facility typically documents exudate, and if you encounter any specific challenges or successes with identifying or treating wounds based on exudate. Please leave your comments below.

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see


Basic Wound Care Applications

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The Wild on Wounds National Convention is coming up  September 23-25, 2010 in Las Vegas. Continuing in our session highlights, Basic Wound Care Applications is a session that will be presented by Nancy Morgan RN, BSN, MBA, WOCN, CWCN, WCC, CWCMS and Co-Founder of WCEI.

Learn to “Dress for Success” with the BASIC but comprehensive review of topical wound management products. This session will focus on the basic dressing categories and review what, why, when and how to apply these products. The course is ‘hands on’ with free product samples and live video demonstrations and is designed for the beginning wound care practitioner or for those interested in learning about wound care.

Check out Wild On Wounds National Convention for more information and accommodations.

For more information about becoming Wound Care Certified, please check our information about our Skin and Wound Management Course