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Bed sores

Abstract

Bed sores occur in patients immobilised because of age or disease. Sores are due to damage by direct or shearing pressure on the blood vessels in the muscles, fat and skin overlying bony points, especially when there is loss of superficial sensation, poor nutrition or soiling with urine or faeces. Tissue damage can occur within hours. The heels and sacral areas are most susceptible, but contractures and other deformities may predispose to necrosis at other pressure areas such as the elbow or greater trochanter. Pressure sores can also develop through prolonged sitting. Patients with bed sores take up to 50% longer to nurse than they would take without bed sores.1 Controlled trials are difficult to perform, and critical publications on the prevention and treatment of bed sores are few.2–4

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