A pressure sore (or pressure ulcer) is a tissue death, or necrosis, following the stopping of vascularization in an area, mainly cutaneous. It is very often due to prolonged bed rest. The soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and a hard surface, which creates a decrease in blood flow causing tissue destruction. The occurrence of pressure ulcers requires the existence of two intertwined factors: first, immobility and secondly, the lack of perception of pain by the patient.
The bearing zones are areas of predilection for the occurrence of pressure ulcers: heels, buttocks, hips, ankles, elbows and the neck are the most commonly affected areas. The skin reddens and becomes painful before turning black; the area is completely insensitive to this transformation. The disorder is initially superficial but becomes more and more profound in the absence of proper support that prevents the exposure of muscles, tendons or bones. At an early stage, proper support will allow healing, which is not the case once the disease is too advanced.
Only clinical signs are necessary for the diagnosis of a pressure ulcer. The symptoms described above, depending on their evolution, confirm the existence of a bedsore as well as its stage. The main risk in the progression of pressure ulcers lies in infections.
The treatment of pressure ulcers consists of the prescription:
- of local hygiene adapted to the stage of development;
- of massages at early stages to promote circulation;
- a fluid, water or air mattress that can be vary the pressures exerted on the body;
- bandages in addition to the removal of necrotic tissue.
Meanwhile, hydration and proper nutrition are equally essential in preventing bedsores.
Dehydration, malnutrition and lack of mobility favor the appearance of bedsores. Prevention thus involves:
- adequate hydration and nutrition;
- frequent changes in positions, and if possible putting bedridden patients in a chair;
- strict hygiene measures;
- finding a suitable medium for sleep (air or water mattress);
- massaging areas susceptible to the development of pressure sores.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff