What is the prevalence of pressure ulcers requiring wound care?

Updated: Apr 24, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Zubin J Panthaki, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC  more...
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Pressure ulcers are a commonly encountered condition in both acutely hospitalized and long-term institutionalized patients. They are estimated to occur in approximately 9% of hospitalized patients, usually during the first 2 weeks of hospitalization. This is in spite of adopting methods to reduce the development of pressure ulcers, such as repositioning, cushioning bony prominences, and using specialized mattresses. In high-risk hospitalized patient populations, the prevalence of pressure sores is even higher, with studies quoting incidence rates as high as 38%. [1] One study found that even with the use of a pressure-reducing bed and early nutritional support, 3% of patients in a surgical intensive care unit who were in the study developed pressure ulcers. [2] The annual risk of pressure ulceration in patients with neurologic impairment is 5-8%, with a lifetime risk of approximately 85% and a mortality rate of 8%.

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