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Draining a Wound – Serous vs Sanguineous drainage

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sanguineous drainage

When in contact with a wound, it is important that they are treated well. Wounds can secrete fluids as part of the healing process and while at times the recreation is harmless, it can also be an indication of infection or inflammation. This may not be the case with every wound but some do experience drainage of fluids. As a nurse, it is important for you to know exactly what type of drainage the patient is experiencing so the wound can be treated accordingly. We will discuss two of the most common type of drainage, serous and sanguineous.

Serous Drainage

Serous drainage is usually common around a wound and in most cases a good sign as it shows that the wound is healing. It happens around the area of the cut where protein along with other tissue fluids builds up, usually clear in color. A normal amount of this drainage is fine. However, if there is too much serous drainage around a wound means that an infection has formed in the wound due to an invasion from a bacteria or micro-organism, making the case much more serious.

Sanguineous Drainage

Sanguineous drainage contains blood rather than protein and white cells in serous drainage. This type of drainage usually occurs with partial or completely thick wounds. The drainage buildup around the wound is a dark brown/red color similar to a syrup. As wounds heal, it is normal to have a little amount of sanguineous drainage. However, like the serous drainage, if it is too much then it means there is trauma at the site of the wound. It is usually the result of damaged blood capillaries or vessels.

How the two differ?

  • Well for starters, the type of wound the two appear in are slightly different. While serous tends to appear on almost every type of wound, sanguineous doesn’t, it appears on a more thick wound that is deep.
  • Sanguineous drainage contains blood whereas serous drainage doesn’t.

Similarities of the two

  • Both types of drainage are part of the healing process of their respective wounds.
  • Too much of either type of drainage would mean the patient needs to be treated.

For a nurse, you must understand the type of drainage the patient experience so you can provide the treatment accordingly. The color and content of the drainage should easily let you classify the drainage type. So it is important you pay attention to that and treat the wound accordingly.

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