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Factors predicting healing of severe pressure ulcers in veterans with spinal cord injury

Guihan ML, Garber SL, Aftandilian A, Burns S, Goldstein B, Holmes SA, Midha M, Sanford P, Trincher R. Factors predicting healing of severe pressure ulcers in veterans with spinal cord injury. Paper presented at: American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Meeting; 2005 Sep 1; Chicago, IL.


Objective: Pressure ulcers (PUs) are a frequent and costly complication of spinal cord injury (SCI). Treatment of PUs frequently requires hospitalization and/or expensive plastic surgery. Yet little empirical information is available about individuals who seek treatment for severe Pus or factors that predict healing. This presentation describes demographic, clinical and medical factors promoting healing prior to discharge. Design: Cross-sectional observational study, using in-person interviews and medical records. Patients: 100 veterans with SCI. Setting: Veterans admitted to six VA SCI Centers. Intervention: NA.Outcome measure: healed at discharge. Results: The mean age of participants was 54.8 (range = 25-84), most were white, with some college. Most live in their own home; and 81% are unemployed. Mean time since SCI is 22.3 years (range = 1-54), 25% have tetraplegia and 72% are classified as 'ASIA A'. 42% have > 1 PU; and 47% had a previous PU in the same location. Anemia, UTI, osteomyelitis, diabetes and depression were the most common co-morbidities. Other factors included type of treatment (surgery vs. medical treatment), length of hospitalization, and sitting time prior to discharge. Conclusion: Results will be used to inform practice and to develop better prevention programs in the future. Key words: pressure ulcers; spinal cord injury; rehabilitation

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