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Effectiveness of zinc therapy for the treatment of pressure ulcers

01 September 2023


Pressure ulcers are a significant burden in healthcare settings, impacting patients’ lives and incurring substantial costs. Nutrition, including the micronutrient zinc, plays a role in wound healing. However, controversy exists regarding zinc supplementation for pressure ulcer management. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy, optimal dosages, and safety of oral zinc supplementation. This commentary provides a critical appraisal of the systematic review conducted by Song et al (2020), which evaluates the efficacy of zinc therapy in the treatment of pressure sores, focusing on the implementation of the nutritional recommendations in context to practice.

Decubitus ulcers, also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers (PUs), result from the prolonged or constant application of pressure on the skin, leading to damage in both the skin and underlying tissues (Zaidi et al, 2023). It is well known that pressure ulcers cause a major burden within hospitals and community settings worldwide (Afzali Borojeny et al, 2020; Zhang et al, 2021). An estimated 1/1000 community-dwelling patients within the UK have a Grade 1 pressure sore and above (Stevenson et al, 2013). Pressure sores can affect all aspects of an individual's life and are associated with increased stress and depression, as well as a reduced quality-of-life and social and financial status (Langemo et al, 2000; Galhardo et al, 2010; Charalambous et al, 2018). It has been estimated that the NHS spends about £8.3 billion on wound care management per year (Guest et al, 2020) with individual costs for treatment ranging from £1214 (Grade 1) to £14108 (Grade 4) (Dealey et al, 2012).

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