Cellulitis--an unreported complication of long-term SCI patients

SCI Nurs. 1996 Jun;13(2):35-8.


Major problems for spinal cord injured patients are pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, and pain management. However, an unreported complication is cellulitis. A retrospective chart review for the calendar year 1993 revealed 312 cases of cellulitis identified as either a primary or secondary diagnosis. Cellulitis was identified more than once for some of the patients in this sample. A review of the literature showed limited citations specific to the spinal cord injured population. This paper analyzes the reported cases for the period of January 1, 1993 through December 31, 1993. The cellulitis diagnosis is examined with the following variables: frequency of occurrence, skin integrity impairment, presence of infection, septicemia, thrombophlebitis, length of hospitalization, rate of recurrence, and area of contact. This data suggest that cellulitis is an important complication to the spinal cord injured patient. However, additional research is needed to provide predictive value. This analysis provides information to SCI nurses to enhance knowledge and understanding of risk factors and develop patient teaching methods for management and prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cellulitis / etiology*
  • Cellulitis / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Time Factors