Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injury Prevalence Among Adult Acute Care Patients: A Single-Center Observational Study

J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. Nov-Dec 2015;42(6):589-98. doi: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000179.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the daily prevalence of adhesive product use and related skin injuries in adult patients in a non-intensive care unit setting.

Design: Prospective, descriptive study.

Subjects and setting: The study sample consisted of patients cared for on 2 inpatient care units in a university-based acute care facility in the Midwestern United States. One was a 30-bed medical/surgical unit and the second was a 35-bed cardiac/telemetry unit. Their median age was 58 years; the average daily proportion of males and females was 56% and 42%, respectively.

Methods: Medical adhesive-related skin injury (MARSI) prevalence was calculated using 3 methods: (1) the proportion of subjects who had any MARSI injury (subject prevalence), (2) the prevalence of MARSI by injury type and severity (severity prevalence), and (3) the proportion of medical adhesive products that had any associated MARSI (product prevalence).

Results: The daily subject prevalence of any MARSI injury ranged from 3.4% to 25.0% with a mean and median of 13.0% and 12.7%, respectively. The severity prevalence of MARSI injury ranged from 8 to 149 per 1000 product-days with a mean and median of 63 and 56 MARSIs per 1000 product-days, respectively. The median (range) product prevalence among all adhesive products varied from a high of 70 injuries per 1000 product-days for surgical closure to a low of 0 injuries per 1000 product-days for peripheral intravenous line dressing.

Conclusions: Medical adhesive-related skin injury is a prevalent event in the acute care setting. Preventing skin injury has the potential to reduce complications, increase patient satisfaction, and improve clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adhesives / adverse effects*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Young Adult


  • Adhesives