Risk factors for early occurring pressure ulcers following spinal cord injury

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1988 Jun;67(3):123-7. doi: 10.1097/00002060-198806000-00007.


We carried out a prospective study to determine the association between immobilization in the immediate postinjury period and the development of pressure ulcers in spinal cord-injured patients following their admission to Charity Hospital, New Orleans. Of 39 patients consecutively admitted to the hospital, 23 (59%) developed a grade one ulcer within 30 days, mostly in the sacral region (57%), the peak time of onset being day 4 postinjury (6/23 cases). In partial support of an earlier retrospective study (Linares HA, Mawson AR, Suarez E, Biundo JJ Jr: Association between pressure sores and immobilization in the immediate post-injury period. Orthopedics 1987;10:571-573), duration of unrelieved pressure prior to ward admission was significantly associated with ulcers developing within the first eight days of injury (P = 0.04), but not with ulcers developing during the entire 30-day observation period (P = 0.09). Time on the spinal board was also significantly associated with ulcers developing within 8 days (P = 0.01), but not with ulcers developing within 30 days (P = 0.09). An unexpected finding was the significant inverse association between systolic blood pressure and the development of ulcers both within 8 days (P = 0.03) and within 30 days (P = 0.02), suggesting that reduced tissue perfusion increases the spinal cord-injured patient's susceptibility to pressure ulcers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure / adverse effects
  • Pressure Ulcer / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Time Factors