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Pressure Sores: Symptoms


Remember: Unrelieved pressure on a specific area of the body (eg the heels , the hips) will affect the blood supply to the skin and underlying tissues causing that area to become damaged.

Mild tissue damage results in skin discolouration, giving a brown or purple appearance. This may look darker if the skin is very fair.

More severe pressure ulcers can expose muscle and even bone. The area around the dead tissue will look red and inflamed and may become infected.


There are
four recognised grades of pressure ulcers in the EPUAP Wound Classification system.

• GRADE 1: Discolouration of intact skin not affected by light finger pressure (non blanching erythema)
This may be difficult to identify in darkly pigmented skin .

Stage 1 - ulcer illustration image


• GRADE 2: Partial-thickness skin loss or damage involving epidermis and/or dermis.
The pressure ulcer is superficial and presents clinically as an abrasion, blister or shallow crater.

Stage 2 - ulcer illustration image


• GRADE 3: Full thickness skin loss involving damage of subcutaneous tissue but not extending to the underlying fascia.
The pressure ulcer presents clinically as a deep crater with or without undermining of adjacent tissue.

Stage 3 - ulcer illustration image


• GRADE 4: Full thickness skin loss with extensive destruction and necrosis extending to underlying tissue.

Stage 4 -  ulcer illustration image

 

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