Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis, Characteristics and Relationship to Pressure Injury: A Multisite Epidemiologic Analysis

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The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence of incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) among incontinent persons in the acute care setting, characteristics of IAD in this group, and associations among IAD, urinary, fecal, and dual incontinence, immobility, and pressure injury in the sacral area.


Descriptive and correlational analysis of data from a large database of IAD, and pressure injuries of sacral area and heels.


The sample comprised 5342 adult patients in acute care facilities in 36 states representing all regions of the United States. Facilities used a variety of products for prevention of IAD and sacral area pressure injuries.


Data were collected for use in a national quality improvement study evaluating current practices related to the prevention of IAD and pressure injuries affecting the sacral area and heels. Data were exported to a spreadsheet, and triple checked for accuracy before being imported to a statistical analysis software program. Descriptive statistics were used to describe prevalence rates for incontinence, types of incontinence, IAD, characteristics of IAD, and pressure injuries. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted on the end point of facility-acquired sacral/buttock pressure injury and the risk factors of immobility and type of incontinence.


More than one-third of patients (n = 2492 of 5342 patients; 46.6%) were incontinent of urine, stool, or both. The overall prevalence rate of IAD was 21.3% (1140/5342); the prevalence of IAD among patients with incontinence was 45.7% (1140/2492). Slightly more than half of the IAD was categorized as mild (596/1140, 52.3%), 27.9% (318/1140) was categorized as moderate, and 9.2% (105/1140) was deemed severe. In addition, 14.8% (169/1140) of patients with IAD also had a fungal rash. The prevalence of pressure injury in the sacral area among individuals with incontinence was 17.1% (427/2492), and the prevalence of full-thickness pressure injury in this population was 3.8% (95/2492). Multivariate analysis revealed that both presence of IAD (odds ratio [OR], 4.56; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.68-5.65) and immobility (OR, 3.56; 95% CI, 2.73-4.63) was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of developing a sacral pressure injury. Multivariate analysis also revealed that presence of IAD (OR, 2.65; 95% CI, 1.74-4.03) and immobility (OR, 6.05; 95% CI, 3.14-11.64) was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of developing full-thickness sacral pressure injury.


Our study findings are consistent with prior research, supporting a clinically relevant association between IAD and pressure injury of the sacral area. This risk persists even after controlling for presence of immobility, suggesting that IAD functions as an independent risk factor for pressure injury occurrence.

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