Pressure Ulcers - Page under construction - will be updated

This medical condition is most commonly known as pressure ulcers or bedsores. What it means is damage to the skin and/or underlying tissue through pressure or shear force. Certain risk factors play a major role in the aetiology of pressure ulcers. These are subdivided into extrinsic (pressure, shear force) and intrinsic factors (acute illness, nutrition, mobility, medication,...). These result in insufficient blood supply to the skin and underlying tissue, which in turn may cause pressure ulcers (Romanelli et al., 2006).

Pressure may be exerted from within the body (protruberances located beneath thin subcutaneous fat tissue) or from external sources (mattresses, creases in the linen, shoes etc.).

Shear forces act parallel to body tissue and arise when a person who, for example, is sitting, is pulled downwards by gravity while his/her skin remains in the original position. This causes a shift of tissue layers, which may consequently become overstretched or even tear. In principle, a pressure ulcer can develop on any part of the body. Parts of the body in which convex protuberances are located beneath thin subcutaneous fat tissue are particularly at risk, e.g. back of the head, shoulder blade, hip bone, ischium, heel etc. Moreover, pressure ulcers can develop on the skin or in underlying tissue. The affected regions are classified into pressure grades in accordance with the extent of the damage. The first sign that a pressure ulcer has developed is persistent redness of the affected region (Cherry et al. 2010).

The Austrian Pressure Ulcer Prevention Association [Austrian Pressure Ulcer Prevention Association] complies with the EPUAP (European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel) and National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) with regard to the classification of pressure ulcers.

CHERRY G., HUGHES M. (2010): The Second Oxford European Wound Healing Course Handbook. Positif Press, Oxford

European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) and National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel NPUAP). Prevention and Treatment of pressure ulcers: Quick Reference Guide. Washington DC: National Pressure Advisory Panel; 2009

ROMANELLI M., CLARK M., CHERRY G., COLIN D., DEFLOOR T. (2006): Science and Practice of Pressure Ulcer Management. London, Springer-Verlag
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