Therapeutic hypothermia and pressure ulcer risk in critically ill intensive care patients: A retrospective study

This article by Ahtiala et al was published in Intensive and Critical Care Nursing in April 2018.
Objective:  To examine the role of therapeutic hypothermia in pressure ulcer development in critically ill patients.
Research Methodology:  Retrospective study in a mixed intensive care unit over 2010-2013. The incidences of pressure ulcers among patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia (n = 148) and the non-hypothermia patient population (n = 6197) were compared.
Results:  Patients treated with hypothermia developed more pressure ulcers (25.0%) than the non-hypothermia group 6.3% (p < 0.001). More patients in the hypothermia group were rated as the high pressure ulcer risk group, as defined by the modified Jackson/Cubbin (mJ/C) risk score ≤29 than the rest of the patients. Among the therapeutic hypothermia patients more pressure ulcers tended to emerge in the lower risk group (mJ/C score ≥30) (p = 0.056). Intensive care mortality was higher in the hypothermia (24.3%) than the non-hypothermia group (9.3%, p < 0.0001).
Conclusion:  Patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia should be considered at high risk for pressure ulcer development and should be managed accordingly. The hypothermia may not as such increase the risk for pressure ulcers, but combined with the severity of the underlying illness, may be more likely. The pressure ulcer risk in this patient group cannot be reliably assessed by the Jackson/Cubbin risk scale.
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