Pressure Injuries in Critical Care Patients in US Hospitals: Results of the International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Survey


Natural Sciences

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Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing

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Purpose: The purpose of this secondary analysis was to examine pressure injury (PI) prevalence, PI risk factors, and prevention practices among adult critically ill patients in critical care units in the United States using the International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence™ (IPUP) Survey database from 2018 to 2019.

Design: Observational, cohort study with cross-sectional data collection and retrospective data analysis.

Subjects and setting: The sample comprised 41,866 critical care patients drawn from a sample of 296,014 patients in US acute care facilities who participated in the 2018 and/or 2019 IPUP surveys. The mean age among critical care patients was 63.5 years (16.3) and 55% were male. All geographic regions of the United States were represented in this sample, with the greatest percentages from the Southeast (47.5%) and Midwest (17.5%) regions.

Methods: Overall critical care PI prevalence and hospital-acquired PI (HAPI) rates were obtained and analyzed using the 2018/2019 IPUP survey database. Critical care PI risk factors included in the database were analyzed using frequency distributions. Prevention practices among critically ill patients were analyzed to evaluate differences in practices between patients with no PIs, superficial PIs (stage 1, stage 2), and severe PIs (stage 3, stage 4, unstageable, deep tissue pressure injury).

Results: The overall PI prevalence for critical care patients was 14.3% (n = 5995) and the overall HAPI prevalence was 5.85% (n = 2451). In patients with severe HAPIs, the most common risk factors were diabetes mellitus (29.5%), mechanical ventilation (27.6%), and vasopressor agents (18.9%). Significant differences between patients with no PIs as compared to those with superficial or severe HAPIs (P = .000) for all prevention practices were found.

Conclusions: Study findings support the gaps elucidated in previous critical care studies on PI development in this population. The 2 most persistent gaps currently challenging critical care practitioners are (1) accurate risk quantification in this population and (2) the potential for unavoidability in PI development among critically ill patients.


critical care, intensive care, pressure injury, prevalence