Pressure ulcers are a common problem faced by patients who are bedridden or immobile, particularly in long-term care facilities. The development of pressure ulcers is not just a medical problem, but a serious health concern that impacts patients’ quality of life and increases the risk of death. Nutritional deprivation and insufficient dietary intake are major risk factors in the development of pressure ulcers, and an adequate supply of nutrition and oxygen is critical in preventing their formation.
Studies, including the National Pressure Ulcer Long-Term Care Study, have revealed that weight loss and inadequate nutritional intake are associated with a higher risk of developing pressure ulcers. Stratton et al. conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that investigated the benefits of nutritional support for patients at risk of developing pressure ulcers. They found that oral and enteral support was essential in preventing bed sores. Fry et al. showed that underfeeding and weight loss were positive predictors of pressure ulcer development. Iizaka et al. observed that 58.7% of patients over the age of 65 with pressure ulcers receiving home care suffered from malnutrition.
In a study by Montalcini et al., a low serum albumin level of less than 3.1 g/dl was found to predict pressure ulcer formation and was associated with higher mortality. Shahin et al. showed that unintended weight loss between 5% and 10% was associated with a higher risk of pressure ulcer development in a population of nursing home and hospital patients in Germany. The National Pressure Ulcer Consensus Conference of 2014 also asserted that patients with malnutrition and multiple comorbidities were at increased risk for developing pressure ulcers. New onset weight loss has been identified as a risk factor for mortality in elderly patients, with two studies showing that a 5% decrease in body weight over 30 days was associated with a higher mortality risk.
In conclusion, proper nutrition and an adequate supply of oxygen are critical in preventing the formation of pressure ulcers. Clinicians must ensure that patients receive adequate nutritional support, monitor their weight, and provide appropriate interventions to prevent malnutrition and the development of pressure ulcers. This not only improves patient outcomes, but also reduces the risk of death and improves quality of life.
Pub Med Reference
Saghaleini SH, Dehghan K, Shadvar K, Sanaie S, Mahmoodpoor A, Ostadi Z. Pressure Ulcer and Nutrition. Indian J Crit Care Med. 2018 Apr;22(4):283-289. doi: 10.4103/ijccm.IJCCM_277_17. PMID: 29743767; PMCID: PMC5930532.