Pressure ulcers: Back to the basics

Indian J Plast Surg. 2012 May;45(2):244-54. doi: 10.4103/0970-0358.101287.


Pressure ulcer in an otherwise sick patient is a matter of concern for the care givers as well as the medical personnel. A lot has been done to understand the disease process. So much so that USA and European countries have established advisory panels in their respective continents. Since the establishment of these organizations, the understanding of the pressure ulcer has improved significantly. The authors feel that the well documented and well publicized definition of pressure ulcer is somewhat lacking in the correct description of the disease process. Hence, a modified definition has been presented. This disease is here to stay. In the process of managing these ulcers the basic pathology needs to be understood well. Pressure ischemia is the main reason behind the occurrence of ulceration. Different extrinsic and intrinsic factors have been described in detail with review of literature. There are a large number of risk factors causing ulceration. The risk assessment scales have eluded the surgical literature and mostly remained in nursing books and websites. These scales have been reproduced for completion of the basics on decubitus ulcer. The classification of the pressure sores has been given in a comparative form to elucidate that most of the classifications are the same except for minor variations. The management of these ulcers is ever evolving but the age old saying of "prevention is better than cure" suits this condition the most.

Keywords: Bed sore; decubitus ulcer; pressure ulcer; prevention; risk factors; ulcer.