Pressure sores

What is Pressure sores?

Pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers or bedsores, are localized injuries to the skin and/or underlying tissue that usually occur over a bony prominence as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction. The most common sites are the skin overlying the sacrum, coccyx, heels or the hips, but other sites such as the elbows, knees, ankles or the back of the cranium can be affected.

Pressure ulcers occur due to pressure applied to soft tissue resulting in completely or partially obstructed blood flow to the soft tissue. Shear is also a cause, as it can pull on blood vessels that feed the skin. Pressure ulcers most commonly develop in individuals who are not moving about, such as being bedridden or are confined to a wheelchair. It is widely believed that other factors can influence the tolerance of skin for pressure and shear, thereby increasing the risk of pressure ulcer development. These factors are protein-calorie malnutrition, microclimate (skin wetness caused by sweating or incontinence), diseases that reduce blood flow to the skin, such as arteriosclerosis, or diseases that reduce the sensation in the skin, such as paralysis or neuropathy. The healing of pressure ulcers may be slowed by the age of the person, medical conditions (such as arteriosclerosis, diabetes or infection), smoking or medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although often prevented and treatable if detected early, pressure ulcers can be very difficult to prevent in critically ill people, frail elders, wheelchair users (especially where spinal injury is involved) and terminally ill individuals. Primary prevention is to redistribute pressure by regularly turning the person. The benefit of turning to avoid further sores is well documented since at least the 19th century. In addition to turning and re-positioning the person in the bed or wheelchair, eating a balanced diet with adequate protein and keeping the skin free from exposure to urine and stool is very important.

The rate of pressure ulcers in hospital settings is high, but improvements are being made. They resulted in 29,000 deaths in 2013 up from 14,000 deaths in 1990.

Questions and answers on "Pressure sores"

I have a bed rideen patient and she is not able to even move she is having pressure sores effected badly and does not allow any outsider to touch...

doctor1 MD

Hello,
Appreciate for the concern. Pressure sores generally occur in bedridden patients. For pressure sores you can use water bed and also try to...

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How would you undertake an holistic assessment of a patient who has a grade 2 pressure sore , has reduced mobility and has dementia?

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Recent questions on  Pressure sores

doctor1 MD

I have a friend who has XXXXXXX Barr syndrome and is on a ventilator. How long should he be on the ventilator? How long with a trek? And feeding...

doctor1 MD

Can we use Nebasulf powder for treatment of Bed sore . The bed sores are at the back and in level 2 condition.

doctor1 MD

Hi! Can I use Silver Sulfadiazine Cream on bed sores instead of zinc oxide for my 87 year old husband's developing bed sore and rash (shearing)? He...

doctor1 MD

My wife has had ms for 40 years. She has a pressure sore on her buttocks.. (2 years) SHE RECENTLY ENDED UP IN THE HOSPITAL. hER WHITE BLOOD COUNT...

doctor1 MD

I have a bed rideen patient and she is not able to even move she is having pressure sores effected badly and does not allow any outsider to touch...

doctor1 MD

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doctor1 MD

My father has terminal liver cancer, and he is receiving Hospice services. Iwas worried about a sore on his right buttocks. I had the hospice nurse...

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