Are there specific characteristics that can alert you to your surgical patients’ increased risk of developing a pressure ulcer? Tschannen and colleagues investigated the characteristics associated with development of pressure ulcers in surgical patients including age, sex, body mass index (BMI), Braden Scale score on admission, history of diabetes, risk for mortality, number of operations, maximum time in the operating room, total time in the operating room, and use of vasopressors.

It might not surprise you that several of the following characteristics increased the pressure ulcer risk, although the amount of the effect might be surprising:

  • History of diabetes increases risk by 49%

  • Braden scale (score of 16 or less)

  • Use of vasopressors increased risk by 33% But do you routinely think about the following factors?

  • Number of operations doubled the risk

  • Lower BMI increased pressure ulcer risk

—William Donnelly,rn,bs...

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