SMTL Dressings Datacard

Product Name: Acticoat
Classification Name: Silver-coated low-adherent primary wound dressing
Manufacturer: Smith & Nephew Healthcare Limited



Acticoat consists of two layers of a silver-coated, high-density polyethylene mesh, enclosing a single layer of an apertured non-woven fabric of rayon and polyester. The three components are ultrasonically welded together to maintain the integrity of the dressing in use. Silver is applied to the polyethylene mesh by a vapour deposition process, which results in the formation of microscopic `nanocrystals' of metallic silver.

In this nanocrystalline form, metallic silver exhibits pronounced antibacterial activity against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria including strains resistant to many types of antibiotics. It is also effective against clinically important strains of yeasts and fungi.


Acticoat is used as an antimicrobial barrier layer for partial and full-thickness wounds such as burns, donor sites and graft recipient sites that are judged to be at risk from infection.


Acticoat is contra-indicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to any of the components of the product. If signs of a sensitivity reaction develop during use, treatment should be discontinued. No safety issues associated with the use of Acticoat have been identified to date.

Method of use

It is recommended that prior to use Acticoat be moistened with sterile water, not saline. This will help to ensure that the dressing provides a moist wound-healing environment whilst enabling the silver to exert its antimicrobial effect.

If necessary, the dressing may be trimmed to the appropriate size and shape of the wound prior to application taking care that the darker blue surface is placed in direct contact with the skin.

Acticoat should be covered with a secondary dressing the choice of which is determined by the degree of exudate produced by the wound and held in place with surgical tape or a bandage as appropriate.

Frequency of Change

It is recommended that the dressing be left in place for a maximum of three days, although on very heavily exuding wounds, it may be necessary to replace it more frequently.


Acticoat should not be used with oil-based products or other topical antimicrobials.

If applied to very lightly exuding wounds there is a possibility that the dressing may dry out and adhere to the wound surface. This is more likely to happen if the secondary dressing is very absorbent or highly permeable to water vapour.

If adherence becomes a problem the dressing should be soaked off to avoid causing pain or trauma to the underlying tissue.


Acticoat is presented in laminated peel pouch, sealed with a laminated cover and sterilised by gamma irradiation.



1. Wright, J. B., Lam, K., Burrell, R. E. Wound management in an era of increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance: a role for topical silver treatment. Am. J Infect. Control 1998; 26(6): 572-577.

2. Wright, J. B., Lam, K., Hansen, D., Burrell, R. E. Efficacy of topical silver against fungal burn wound pathogens. Am. J. Infect. Control 1999; 27(4): 344-350.

3. Tredget, E. E., Shankowsky, H. A., Groeneveld, A., Burrell, R. A matched-pair, randomized study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Acticoat silver-coated dressing for the treatment of burn wounds. J. Burn Care Rehabil. 1998; 19(6): 531-537.

4. Yin, H. Q., Langford, R., Burrell, R. E. Comparative evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of ACTICOAT antimicrobial barrier dressing In Process Citation. J. Burn Care Rehabil. 1999; 20(3): 195-200.

5. Burrell, R. E., Heggers, J. P., Davis, G. J., Wright, J. B. Efficacy of silver-coated dressings as bacterial barriers in a rodent burn sepsis model. Wounds: A compendium of clinical research and practice 1999; 11(464-71).


Further information on obtaining Smith & Nephew products is available on the Smith & Nephew web site.

Revision Details

Revision AuthorDr S. Thomas
Revision No 1.1
Revision date2002/01/29

This datacard has been prepared from data provided by the manufacturer and/or from published literature.

All materials copyright © 1992-2007 by the Surgical Materials Testing Lab. unless otherwise stated.

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Last Modified: Friday, 30-Jan-2004 14:22:16 GMT