Prevalence of pressure sores in a community sample of spinal injury patients

Clin Rehabil. 2003 Dec;17(8):879-84. doi: 10.1191/0269215503cr692oa.


Objectives: To estimate the point prevalence of pressure sores in a community sample of spinal cord injured patients who were followed up by a spinal injuries unit and to evaluate whether self-management strategies were associated with decreased risk of pressure sores.

Setting: A regional spinal injuries unit, UK.

Design: Postal questionnaire survey.

Main outcome measure: Presence of pressure sores.

Subjects: All patients who were being followed up on a regular basis by the unit.

Results: Out of 760, 520 replied to the questionnaire; 472 were eligible for analysis. Point prevalence of pressure sores was 23% (99). Failure to inspect the skin daily for pressure damage was associated with decreased prevalence of pressure sores (odds ratio (OR) 0.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.2-0.83). Those who inspected their skin daily, however, had a higher proportion of stage I pressure sores, but this was not statistically significant. Smoking (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1-3.3) and pre-existing medical problems (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1-3) were associated with increased prevalence of pressure sores. Regular lifting of weight at least once in an hour while seated, age, gender, neurological level, employment status, living alone and faecal and urinary incontinence were not significant predictors of pressure sores.

Conclusions: Nearly one-quarter of participants had pressure sores at the time of the survey. Periodic weight lifts and daily inspection of skin for pressure damage were not associated with decreased prevalence of pressure sores in this sample. However, those who inspected skin daily tended to detect pressure damage early.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Paraplegia / complications
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Quadriplegia / complications
  • Quadriplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Care
  • Spinal Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology