Results of the 2008-2009 International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Survey and a 3-year, acute care, unit-specific analysis

Ostomy Wound Manage. 2009 Nov 1;55(11):39-45.


The National Quality Forum has identified a pressure ulcer as a hospital-acquired condition (HAC) that is high-cost and high-volume and may be preventable with implementation of evidence-based guidelines. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services no longer reimburses acute care facilities for the ancillary cost of facility-acquired (FA) ulcers. Benchmarking patient safety indicators, such as FA, may help facilities reduce pressure ulcer rates. The purpose of this observational, cross-sectional cohort study was to report the International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Survey (IPUP) in the United States in 2008 and 2009. In addition, previously collected data (2006/2007) were used to evaluate and report general and unit-specific prevalence rates in acute care facilities. The overall prevalence and FA pressure ulcer rates were 13.5% and 6% (2008, N = 90,398) and 12.3 and 5% (2009, N = 92,408), respectively. In 2008 and 2009, overall prevalence rates were highest in long-term acute care (22%). FA rates were highest in adult intensive care units (ICUs) and ranged from 9.2% (general cardiac care unit [CCU]) to 12.1% (medical ICU) in 2008 and from 8.8% (general CCU) to 10.3% (surgical ICU) in 2009. In 2009, 3.3% of ICU patients developed severe FA ulcers (Stage III, Stage IV, eschar/unable to stage, or deep tissue injury). In 2009, approximately 10% (n = 1,631) of all ulcers were described as device-related. The most common anatomic locations for device-related ulcers were the ear (20%) and sacral/coccyx region (17%). Both the overall and FA pressure ulcer prevalence rates were lower in 2008 and 2009 than in 2006 and 2007. Results indicate that, although overall prevalence trends are encouraging, there is a stark contrast from the desired state, especially in adult ICUs.

MeSH terms

  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology