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Ann Epidemiol. 2002 Jul;12(5):321-5.

The incidence and prevalence of pressure ulcers among elderly patients in general medical practice.

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Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



The objective of this study was to estimate the period prevalence and incidence of pressure ulcer among those 65 years of age and older.


We used a patient-record database called the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). Subjects were 65 years of age and older and cases were ascertained based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. The accuracy of the ascertainment strategy was estimated using mailed physician-answered questionnaires. Annual period prevalence and age-specific incidence were estimated per 100 person-years with exact 95% confidence intervals (CI).


The accuracy of our ascertainment strategy was excellent, with a positive predictive value of 100% (95% CI: 92%,100%) and negative predictive value of 95% (85%, 95%). Over 200,000 person-years of data were analyzed. The annual period prevalence of pressure ulcer among those 65 years of age and older varied from 0.31% to 0.70%. The incidence varied significantly with advancing patient age from 0.18 to 3.36 per 100-person years (p < 0.001) but was not associated with gender (p = 0.95).


Pressure ulcers are seen in the general practice setting. They are most likely to occur in those over 85 years of age. Preventative strategies within the general practice setting should concentrate on the oldest of the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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