Skin Failure: Can the Body’s Largest Organ Fail Like Any Other?

June 29, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Skin failure is understudied and should be treated like any other organ failure, according to an article in the July 1, 2016, issue of JAMDA. Treating skin failure as a legitimate diagnosis would also help research into pressure ulcers, the author said, which is the second most litigated condition in nursing homes after falls. Skin failure has many definitions, which has contributed to "limited clinical usefulness," of the term, according to the author. Any definition must clarify skin failure's physiologic, pathologic, and molecular mechanisms and the definitions must include diagnostic criteria such as those for any other organ failure, he added. A logical definition, the author said, would begin with the idea that skin is failing when it is no longer performing its normal function. Thinking differently about skin failure could also be financially beneficial, because pressure ulcers are often considered preventable, despite preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General showing that as many as 40% of such wounds are unavoidable.

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