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Vol. 36 No. 3, July 1999


Abstract - Transcutaneous oxygen tension in subjects with paraplegia with and without pressure ulcers: A preliminary report

Mon Hsia Liu, BS; David R. Grimm, EdD; Victoria Teodorescu, MD; Steven J. Kronowitz, MD; William A. Bauman, MD

Spinal Cord Damage Research Center and Department of Vascular Surgery, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10468; Departments of Medicine, Surgery, and Rehabilitation Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY 10029

Abstract--This study compared transcutaneous oxygen tension (TcpO2) in subjects with paraplegia and pressure ulcers (PU), those with paraplegia and no pressure ulcer (NPU), and ambulatory controls. TcpO2 was measured using a surface-electrode monitoring system, recorded at 1-min intervals for 5 min and averaged. Mean TcpO2 was significantly lower in the PU than the NPU and control groups (23.53±1.83 vs. 58.93±2.53 and 79.70±6.77 mmHg, respectively, p<0.05). In a PU subgroup (n=4) mean TcpO2 of the pressure ulcer and nonpressure ulcer sides (trochanter or ischium) were significantly different (21.05±2.98 vs. 67.65±2.11 mmHg, respectively, p<0.001). Additionally, the NPU group demonstrated significantly lower TcpO2 than the controls. PUs had a greater reduction in TcpO2 levels relative to controls than NPUs. No association was found between TcpO2 and duration of injury, completeness of lesion, or smoking history. Thus, TcpO2 may be an effective method to identify individuals who are susceptible to pressure ulcers. The further attenuation of TcpO2 observed in the PU group may be useful to help predict whether ulcers will heal with local care or will require additional treatment.

Key words: paraplegia, pressure ulcer, transcutaneous oxygen tension (TcpO2).

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