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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1996 Mar-Apr;75(2):96-104.

A new pressure ulcer risk assessment scale for individuals with spinal cord injury.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, New York Medical College, Westchester County Medical Center, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


Each year, one-fourth of the 200,000 individuals with spinal cord injury in the United States develop pressure ulcers. No method currently exists, however, to accurately identify which of these individuals are at increased risk for development of pressure ulcers. We studied 219 spinal cord-injured patients, seen at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, during a 6-yr period. Our goal was to develop a pressure ulcer risk assessment scale, specifically for persons with SCI. Each risk factor had to meet four criteria: (1) statistical association with pressure ulcer development; (2) biologically plausible mechanism; (3) literature support; (4) improved prediction. Among the 219 spinal cord-injured patients evaluated, 176 (80.4 percent) had a history of one or more pressure ulcers. Fifteen risk factors met the four criteria for inclusion into the risk assessment scale. They were as follows: restricted activity level, degree of immobility, complete spinal cord injury, urinary disease, impaired cognitive function, diabetes, cigarette smoking, residence in a nursing home or hospital, hypoalbuminemia, and anemia. Compared with the more general scales available, for quantifying the risk of pressure ulcer development, preliminary results suggest that this new scale is a significant improvement for the spinal cord-disabled.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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