Pressure ulcer in newborns. Incidence, preventive measures, and risk factors

Pressure ulcers (PUs) are a common adverse effect in neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), as well as in neonatal intermediate care units. These PUs may be associated with intrinsic risk factors of this population such as physiological immaturity of the skin, and extrinsic risk factors such as the use of clinical devices.

In order to reduce the impact of these factors, preventive measures are necessary. This study, developed by Pablo García-Molina for his PhD research supervised by Dr. Francisco P. García-Fernández, member of the CuiDsalud research group, and Dr. Jose Verdu,  aimed to describe and analyze the incidence of UPP in the neonatal population in several Spanish hospitals, and its association with risk factors and preventive measures.

The main results are:  the cumulative incidence of PUs in neonates was 12.69%, with a cumulative incidence of 28.18% in the NICU and 1.90% in the intermediate care units. The PU  were categorised as stage I, 57.10%; stage II, 31.70%; and stage III, 11.10%

Among the main risk factors, a significant association was found between the occurrence of PU and length of stay, the score of the e-NSRAS scale and the time spent since the application of clinical devices, mainly for non-invasive ventilation.

With respect to preventive measures, the kangaroo care method was the only measure that yielded a significant protective effect.

See the reference: García-Molina P, Balaguer-López E, García-Fernández FP, Ferrera-Fernández MA, Blasco JM, Verdú J. Pressure ulcers’ incidence, preventive measures, and risk factors in neonatal intensive care and intermediate care units. Int Wound J. 2018; 1-9.


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