Pressure Ulcers: A Review of Pathophysiology, Risk Factors, and Management Principles

Chris Overgaard, MD, MSc

Pressure ulcers are common in elderly patients who suffer from an acute illness causing immobility, and for those patients with chronic disabilities who are confined to a bed at home, or in a chronic care facility.1 The development of these ulcers represents a major medical problem that can, by itself, necessitate admission to hospital, or significantly prolong the length of stay in a hospital in patients who were admitted with other illnesses. In this brief review, the scope of the medical problem associated with pressure ulcers is examined, etiology and risk factors are discussed, and preventative measures and treatment options, based on recently published consensus guidelines, are summarized.