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(also decubitus ulcer), the necrosis of soft tissues resulting from constant pressure and accompanied by circulatory and trophic nerve disorders. Bedsores develop in persons confined to bed for a prolonged period, for example, in elderly patients with fractures, in patients with diseases of the central nervous system, and in patients with traumas of the spinal cord.
Bedsores form in the region of the sacrum, shoulder blades, heels, or elbow joints. The skin, which is the superficies of the bedsore, is affected, as is the subcutaneous cellular tissue that contains muscles. A deep subcutaneous bedsore is dangerous in that it can result in an infected wound and intoxication. A bedsore may develop because of pressure on the skin from a plaster cast or from an orthopedic prosthesis or apparatus. It may also develop on the mucosa of the mouth because of pressure caused by dental prostheses.
Treatment of bedsores includes ultraviolet irradiation, administration of potassium permanganate solutions, application of dressings, use of general analeptic measures, and less frequently, surgery. Prophylaxis includes good care of the skin, for example, by rubbing, and a regular change of linens, and the use of bedpans and special pneumatic massaging mattresses. It is also important occasionally to shift the patient’s position in bed.