Identification of Risk Factors for the Development of Pressure Ulcers Despite Standard Screening Methodology and Prophylaxis in Trauma Patients

Lauren A. Raff, Holly Waller, Russell L. Griffin, Jeffrey D. Kerby, Patrick L. Bosarge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To present information about a study of risk factors for development of pressure ulcers (PrUs) in trauma patients. TARGET AUDIENCE: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care. OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES: After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to: 1. Describe the previous PrU research, scope of the problem, and methodology of the study. 2. Explain the results of the study identifying PrU risk factors for trauma patients. ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE:Pressure ulceration prevention has been emphasized over the past several years in inpatient hospital settings with subsequent decreases in the development of pressure ulcers (PrUs). However, there remains a subset of trauma and burn patients that develop PrUs despite standard screening methodology and prophylaxis. This study determines the conditions that predict development of pressure ulcers (PrUs) despite conventional prophylaxis and screening. METHODS: Demographic and PrU data were collected over a 5-year period from June 2008 to May 2013. Patients diagnosed with PrUs upon arrival in the trauma bay were excluded from analysis. An ordinal logistic regression of PrU stage was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between characteristics of interest and odds of a PrU. A backward selection process was used to select the most parsimonious model. RESULTS: During the study period, 14,616 trauma patients were admitted and had available data. A total of 124 patients (0.85%) that met inclusion criteria went on to develop PrUs during their hospital course. Factors associated with the development of PrUs included spine Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) >3 (OR, 5.72; CI, 3.63-9.01), mechanical ventilation (OR, 1.95; CI, 1.23-3.10) and age 40 to 64 (OR, 2.09; CI, 1.24-3.52) and age ≥ 65 (OR, 4.48; CI, 2.52-7.95). Interestingly, head injury AIS >3 was protective from the development of PrUs (OR, 0.56; CI, 0.32-0.96). Hypotension and shock defined as systolic BP <90 mm Hg and base deficit less than-6 were not associated with the development of PrUs. In addition, body mass index was not associated with PrU development. CONCLUSIONS: Spinal injuries, older than age 40, and mechanical ventilation predict the development of PrUs for a subset of patients, despite conventional prophylaxis and screening. Advanced prevention methods, such as low-air-loss mattresses for these patient subgroups should be considered immediately upon identification of these risk factors during the hospital course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-334
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Skin and Wound Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • pressure ulcers
  • prophylaxis
  • risk factors
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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