Article Content

Pressure Ulcers

In a recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science, researchers suggest that obesity reduces the risk of pressure ulcers in hospitalized older adults. A total of 3214 patients admitted to 2 Philadelphia, PA, hospitals between 1998 and 2001 were assessed for risk factors for pressure ulcers. The goal of the investigation was to evaluate the chances of developing a pressure ulcer in both underweight and obese patients, relative to optimal weight patients. Patients enrolled in the study who were underweight demonstrated greater odds of developing a pressure ulcer (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-2.6). Study participants who were obese had reduced odds (adjusted OR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4-1.0), and those with severe obesity had the lowest odds of developing a pressure ulcer (adjusted OR = 0.1; 95% CI, 0.01-0.6). The investigators concluded that extra body fat lowers the risk of pressure ulcers in hospitalized older adults.


Source: Compher C, Kinosian BP, Ratcliffe SJ, Baumgarten M. Obesity Reduces the Risk of Pressure Ulcers in Elderly Hospitalized Patients. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2007;62(11):1310-2.


In the United Kingdom, bioengineers at the Strathclyde Institute for Medical Devices, Glasgow, Scotland, have developed a new system that allows doctors and nurses to check the conditions under a dressing without having to remove it. A tiny sensor attached to the gauze monitors to detect whether the wound is moist-the optimum environment for healing-or too dry or wet to heal properly. About half the size of a first class stamp, the sensor is attached via a sterile pad to the dressing itself, thus avoiding pain to the patient. It is connected to wires that can be plugged in to the monitor to allow doctors or nurses to take a reading.


The system is currently under clinical trial on patients with chronic leg ulcers with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. It is anticipated it could be used for any kind of chronic or acute wound, including burns, chronic surgical wounds, and pressure ulcers.


[black up pointing small triangle]Information: