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Pressure Sores

Pressure Sores, also known as Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores
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What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores, also known as bed sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, can develop in any patient who spends too long sitting or lying in one position.

Typically, pressure sores affect people confined to a chair or bed with a debilitating illness and can be very painful indeed. Pressure sores are essentially wounds that develop when there is continuous pressure or friction on one area of the body, leading the skin to become damaged.

How are the ulcers caused?

The ulcers occur because the pressure prevents blood from flowing normally, leading cells to die and skin to break down. Sores can occur in any area of the body, whether that’s a bony or cartilaginous area. However, most commonly affected are the ankles, knees, elbows and sacrum – a triangular bone which sits at the base of the spine, upper and back area of the pelvic cavity (acting as a wedge between the two hip bones).

Pressure sores are defined by UK and USA health authorities as the second most iatrogenic cause of death, which describes an unforeseen death that comes about as a result of medical treatment and cites a the actions of a physician or the therapy prescribed by a doctor as the cause. Pressure sores trail only to adverse drug reactions as the highest cause of death and the NHS estimates between 4 per cent and 10 per cent of hospitalised patients will have at least one pressure sore in their lifetime.

More information

If you would like to find out more about pressure sores, then please read our guidance on:

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