Pressure ulcer treatments should be re-evaluated, expert says

Hospitalization rates as a result of pressure ulcers have risen dramatically over the last 15 years, according to a report from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Hospital admissions for which pressure ulcers were either a primary or secondary diagnosis rose 80% between 1993 and 2006, according to the report. Primary diagnosis hospitalizations reached nearly 45,000 in 2006, compared with 35,800 in 1993, and secondary diagnosis hospitalizations jumped from 245,600 in 1993 to 457,800 in 2006.  Those with a secondary diagnosis of bedsores were typically being treated primarily for pneumonia or other infections.

The death rate among secondary diagnosis cases was one in eight. Primary diagnosis patients fared better, with a one in 25 death rate, according to the report. Pressure ulcer hospitalizations also typically lasted more than twice as long and cost between $6,000 and $10,000 more per visit than most other hospitalizations, according to the report.