Webster, Dwight A. et al
. 1981. Silver anode treatment of chronic osteomyelitis
. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 161: 105-114.
25 patients with chronic bone infections who had received extensive conventional treatment unsuccessfully were used in this study. Many of them were candidates for amputation and they had received an average of 4.1 prior operations. Silver nylon was placed in the wound and electric current was applied to the silver nylon. The electric current provided a constant supply of silver cations, which was necessary because silver ions react with chloride and proteins. At the end of the study, 16 patients had healed, with no pain or drainage and a completely closed wound. 6 patients had not healed and were still receiving treatment, and 3 had received amputations. Side effects were not seen.
The silver cation is known to have an exceptionally broad spectrum involving gram-positive, gram-negative, aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. A number of species have been found to have a minimum inhibitory concentration for anode-derived silver considerably lower than antibiotics in current use, and resistance to silver ions is rare.