Author(s): Schryvers OI, Stranc MF, Nance PW
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes of surgical management of spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with severe pressure ulcers and to examine likely risk factors for recurrence of pressure ulcers. DESIGN: A retrospective medical record review. SETTING: An SCI unit in a tertiary care facility. PATIENTS: All admissions to the SCI unit for grade 4 pressure ulcers from 1976 to 1996. INTERVENTION: Surgical repair of pressure ulcers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Complication and recurrence rates of pressure ulcers. RESULTS: Of 598 pressure ulcers, 468 were pelvic area ulcers, of which 431 (92\%) were treated surgically. Fifty-three had split-thickness skin grafting, and 380 were treated with 421 surgical procedures (253 fasciocutaneous or cutaneous flaps, 93 muscle or musculocutaneous flaps, 75 primary closures). One hundred eight (26\%) of these procedures required some bone work. Suture line dehiscence occurred in 130 (31\%), with 45 (11\%) requiring reconstruction and 8 (2\%) requiring skin grafting to heal. At discharge, 38 (9\%) of these pelvic ulcers had not healed. Recurrent admissions occurred in 90 (54\%) of the patients. Recurrence of ulcers at the same site occurred in 31\% of the total number of ulcers and at a different site in 21\%. At the time of the 415 admissions, 336 (81\%) of the patients were unemployed; 159 (38\%) had grade 8 or lower level of education; and 226 (55\%) lived alone or with family but were independent in self-care. Of the 168 patients studied, 45 (27\%) were aboriginal (Canadian native), and 59 (35\%) had a history of drug or alcohol abuse. CONCLUSIONS: The vast majority of severe pressure ulcers were surgically treated. Complication and recurrence rates are similar to previous reports. Psychosocial problems (unemployment, low level of education, drug or alcohol abuse, poverty in the native communities) appear to increase the risk for pressure ulcer development.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Fertilizers & Pesticides