Pressure Ulcer

Pressure Ulcer is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • A localized area of skin or underlying tissue injury resulting from pressure and/or shear
  • Classified in stages according to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP):
    • Stage I: nonblanchable erythema—intact skin with nonblanchable redness; darkly pigmented skin may not have visible blanching.
    • Stage II: partial thickness skin loss—shallow open ulcer with a red-pink wound bed, without slough; or intact or open/ruptured serum-filled blister
    • Stage III: full thickness skin loss—subcutaneous fat may be visible but bone, tendon, or muscle is not exposed; slough, if present, does not obscure depth of tissue loss.
    • Stage IV: full thickness tissue loss—exposed bone, tendon, or muscle; slough or eschar may be present but does not completely obscure wound base.
    • Unstageable: depth unknown—base of the ulcer is covered by slough and/or eschar in the wound bed
    • Suspected deep tissue injury: depth unknown—purple or maroon area of intact skin or blood-filled blister
  • Synonyms: decubitus ulcer; bedsore; pressure injury


Dependant on setting and population: 0–53.4% (1,2)

Dependant on setting and population: 0–72.5% (1,2)

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Complex process of risk factors interacting with external forces (pressure and/or shear) (3)

Risk Factors

  • Impaired mobility
  • Malnutrition
  • Reduced perfusion
  • Sensory loss
  • Medical devices

General Prevention

  • Structured risk assessment (1)
  • Skin and tissue assessment (1)
  • Preventive skin care (1)
  • Nutrition screening (1)
  • Repositioning (1)
  • Early mobilization (1)
  • Support surfaces (1)
  • Microclimate control (1)
  • Prophylactic dressings (1)
  • Electrical stimulation of the muscles (1)

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Advanced age
  • Trauma
  • Hip fractures
  • Diabetes
  • Cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease
  • Incontinence

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --