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Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcer Development in a Best Practice Surgical Intensive Care Unit

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We describe the incidence of and define risk factors for pressure ulcers (PU) in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU). Twelve months of data were collected on all patients admitted to the intensivist-run surgical ICU of a university hospital. PU patients were those who developed a new stage II or greater lesion during or after a surgical ICU stay as identified in Project Impact®, ICD9 discharge, or ICU complications databases. Patients were nursed in pressure-relieving beds with nutrition initiated by 72 hours. χ2, t test, and logistic regression statistics were used. Three percent (25/820) developed PU. Age, ICU length of stay, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation Score (APACHE), and gender were not different between those with and without PU. Patients with PU had a higher blood urea nitrogen/creatinine (30.5/2.2 mg/dL vs 22.0/1.6 mg/dL) and were more frequently vascular patients (28 vs 14.1%), diabetics (40 vs 17.2%), paraplegics (8 vs 0.2%) (all P < 0.01), and patients on pressors (28.0 vs 11.8%, P < 0.02). Multivariate analysis revealed that diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 2.7, 95%, confidence interval [CI] 1.1–6.4), spinal cord injury (OR 16.8, 95%, CI 1.5–183), age > 60 years (OR 2.9, 95%, CI 1.2–7.1), and a creatinine >3 mg/dL (OR 3.7, 95%, CI 1.2–9.3) were independent predictors of PU. Despite universal use of specialty beds and early nutrition, pressure ulcers developed in 3 per cent. Independent risk factors include age greater than 60 years, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and renal insufficiency. Additional modalities, such as aggressive early mobilization, might be warranted in this cohort.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Division of Burn/Trauma/Critical Care, Department of Surgery, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas and 2: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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