Preventing recurrent pressure ulcers is an important challenge in healthcare. One of the reasons for the high rate of recurrent pressure ulcers is the lack of assessment methods for their early detection. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the thermographic characteristics of the healed area and to consider the predictive validity of thermographic images for recurrent pressure ulcers within a 2-week period. This observational study was conducted at a long-term care facility in Japan between July 2017 and February 2019 among patients whose pressure ulcers had healed. Thermographic images of the healed area were recorded once a week until recurrence or until the end of the study. We enrolled 30 participants, among whom 8 developed recurrent pressure ulcers. The generalised estimation equation revealed that the thermographic finding of increased temperature at the healed area compared to that of the surrounding skin was significantly associated with recurrent pressure ulcers (odds ratio: 101.13, 95% confidence interval: 3.60–2840.77, p =.007); the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, positive likelihood ratio and negative likelihood ratio for recurrent pressure ulcers within 2 weeks were 0.80, 0.94, 0.62, 0.97, 12.9 and 0.2, respectively. Our thermographic findings revealed that the temperature of the healed area was higher than that of the surrounding skin; this could be a useful predictor of pressure ulcer recurrence within 2 weeks, even in the absence of macroscopic changes.
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