Utilisation of skin blood flow as a precursor for pressure injury development in persons with acute spinal cord injury: A proof of concept

Yi Ting Tzen, Patricia T. Champagne, Varsha Rao, Jijia Wang, Wei Han Tan, Merrine Klakeel, Nitin B. Jain, Dane K. Wukich, Timothy J. Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

People with spinal cord injury (SCI) are at high risk of developing a pressure injury. It is unclear why some people with SCI develop pressure injury while others with similar predisposing risk factors do not during acute hospitalisation. This may hinder healthcare utilisation to prevent pressure injuries. The purpose of the study was to examine the proof-of-concept objective bedside skin blood flow measurements before a pressure injury develops in spinal cord injured patients during acute hospitalisation. This was an observational study. All participants had acute traumatic SCI and were pressure injury-free upon enrollment. Skin blood flow patterns were collected at both heels under two circumstances: localised pressure for reactive hyperemia, and localised heating for heat hyperemia. Our results showed that reactive and heat hyperemia were successfully induced in all eleven participants. Two participants developed pressure injury and nine did not have pressure injury at discharge. Heat hyperemia was smaller in participants with pressure injury. No difference was observed in reactive hyperemia between the groups. In conclusion, skin blood flow measurements could be obtained at bedside during acute hospitalisation of SCI for the purpose of research. Further examination of a larger group is warranted to determine clinical use of heat hyperemia pattern as predictor for pressure injury development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Wound Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • hyperemia
  • microcirculation
  • pressure ulcer
  • spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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