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. 2014 Dec 11;4:7429.
doi: 10.1038/srep07429.

Pressure Ulcers in the Hospitalized Neonate: Rates and Risk Factors

Free PMC article

Pressure Ulcers in the Hospitalized Neonate: Rates and Risk Factors

Marty Visscher et al. Sci Rep. .
Free PMC article


Pressure ulcers (PU) are serious, reportable events causing pain, infection and prolonged hospitalization, particularly among critically ill patients. The literature on PUs in neonates is limited. The objective was to determine the etiology, severity and influence of gestational age on PUs among hospitalized infants. A two-year prospective study was conducted among 741 neonatal intensive care patients over 31,643 patient-days. Risk factors were determined by comparing the characteristics of infants who developed PUs with those who did not. There were 1.5 PUs per 1000 patient days with 1.0 PU per 1000 days in premature infants and 2.7 per 1000 days in term infants. The number of PUs associated with devices was nearly 80% overall and over 90% in premature infants. Infants with PUs had longer hospitalizations and weighed more than those who did not. Infants with device-related PUs were younger, of lower gestational age and developed the PU earlier than patients with PUs due to conventional pressure. The time to PU development was longer in prematurely born versus term infants. Hospitalized neonates are susceptible to device-related injury and the rate of stage II injury is high. Strategies for early detection and mitigation of device-related injury are essential to prevent PUs.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Time to PU Development for Premature and Term Infants.
The time to PU development is shown for the 14 premature (A) and 14 term (B) infants with PUs. The time was significantly longer for premature infants (p < 0.05) and may be related to the longer hospitalizations, particularly in extremely young patients who develop complications over time. The shorter time in term infants may reflect the acuity of these particular patients.

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