African Americans show increased risk for pressure ulcers: a retrospective analysis of acute care hospitals in America

Wound Repair Regen. Sep-Oct 2009;17(5):678-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2009.00522.x. Epub 2009 Aug 11.


In an earlier study, we reported a significantly increased risk of pressure ulcer hospital discharge diagnoses in African Americans, higher age groups, and those with certain medical conditions. The objectives of the present study were to: (a) investigate the demographics associated with a higher odds ratio (OR) in African Americans and (b) determine whether African Americans have different rates of medical risk factors. The 2003 Nationwide Inpatient Sample database was queried. Patients with pressure ulcers were identified by discharge diagnoses using ICD-9 codes 707.0-707.09. Discharge diagnosis was examined using the agency for healthcare research and quality clinical classifications software (CCS). The present study used identified CCS discharge diagnoses present in at least 5% of all patients, with an OR>2. African Americans exhibited a higher incidence of an OR>2 for 28 identified CCS risk factors for pressure ulcers. The pressure ulcer diagnoses tended to occur at younger ages in African Americans. No significant differences were noted in African Americans with pressure ulcers when a subanalysis was conducted by zip code income quartile, region of the country, or teaching status of the hospital. Hospitalized African Americans exhibit an age-dependent, higher prevalence of pressure ulcers compared with Caucasians. Socioeconomic factors tracked within the Nationwide Inpatient Sample do not provide an explanation for this phenomenon.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult