What are pressure injuries (pressure ulcers)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Christian N Kirman, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Although the terms decubitus ulcer, pressure sore, and pressure ulcer have often been used interchangeably, the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP; formerly the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel [NPUAP]) currently considers pressure injury the best term to use, given that open ulceration does not always occur. [1]  According to the NPIAP, a pressure injury is localized damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue, usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device. It can present as intact skin or an open ulcer and may be painful. It occurs as a result of intense or prolonged pressure or pressure in combination with shear.

See the image below.


Advanced sacral pressure ulcer shows effects of pr Advanced sacral pressure ulcer shows effects of pressure, shearing, and moisture.

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