Pressure Ulcers in the United States’ Inpatient Population From 2008 to 2012: Results of a Retrospective Nationwide Study


Pressure ulcers are common, increase patient morbidity and mortality, and costly for patients, their families, and the health care system. A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the impact of pressure ulcers on short-term outcomes in United States inpatient populations and to identify patient characteristics associated with having 1 or more pressure ulcers. The US Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was analyzed using the International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9 CM) diagnosis codes as the screening tool for all inpatient pressure ulcers recorded from 2008 to 2012. Patient demographics and comorbid conditions, as identified by ICD-9 code, were extracted, along with primary outcomes of length of stay (LOS), total hospital charge (TC), inhospital mortality, and discharge disposition. Continuous variables with normal distribution were expressed in terms of mean and standard deviation. Group comparisons were performed using t-test or ANOVA test. Continuous nonnormal distributed variables such as LOS and TC were expressed in terms of median, and nonparametric tests were used to compare the differences between groups. Categorical data were presented in terms of percentages of the number of cases within each group. Chi-squared tests were used to compare categorical data in different groups. For multivariate analysis, linear regressions (for continuous variable) and logistic regression (for categorical variables) were used to analyze the possible risk factors for the investigated outcomes of LOS, TC, inhospital mortality, and patient disposition. Coefficients were calculated with multivariate regression with all included patients versus patients with pressure ulcers alone. The 5-year average number of admitted patients with at least 1 pressure ulcer was determined to be 670 767 (average overall rate: 1.8%). Statistically significant differences between patients with and without pressure ulcers were observed for median LOS (7 days [mean 11.1 ± 15] compared to 3 days [mean 4.6 ± 6.8]) and median TC ($36 500 [mean $72 000 ± $122 900] compared to $17 200 [mean $32 200 ± $57 500]). The mortality rate in patients with a pressure ulcer was significantly higher than in patients without a pressure ulcer (9.1% versus 1.8%, OR = 5.08, CI: 5.03-5.1, P <0.001). Pressure ulcers were significantly more common in patients who were older or had malnutrition. The results of this study confirm the importance of prevention initiatives to help reduce the negative impact of pressure ulcers on patient outcomes and costs of care.