Pressure ulcer etiology

What is a pressure ulcer and how do they occur?

Pressure ulcers are complications that cause significant problems for the individuals who experience them. In addition to the physical, emotional, and social suffering that pressure ulcers lead to, they also impose resource and cost demands on society (1)(2).

Pressure ulcers are counted among the most common healthcare-associated injuries. According to the Patient Safety Act (2010-659) SFS SFS 2021:739, a healthcare-associated injury is defined as suffering, bodily or mental harm or illness, and death that could have been avoided if appropriate measures had been taken during the patient’s contact with healthcare services. Through systematic improvement efforts, a significant proportion of pressure ulcers can be prevented (3).

What is a pressure ulcer?

A pressure ulcer is damage to the skin that can occur when the skin is exposed to pressure and/or shear and can be very painful for the person affected.

How and where do pressure ulcers occur?

Pressure ulcers can occur on any part of the body, but how do pressure ulcers occur and which areas of the body are particularly vulnerable?

Pressure ulcer categories

Pressure ulcers are divided into different categories depending on the depth of the wound.


  1. European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel, and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. (2019). Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers/Injuries: Quick Reference Guide. Emily Haesler (Ed.). EPUAP/NPIAP/PPPIA.
  2. Socialstyrelsen. (2022). “Samlat stöd för patientsäkerhet.” Retrieved June 10, 2022, from
  3. Socialstyrelsen. (2015). “Trycksår – framgångsfaktorer för att förebygga.” Trycksår. Retrieved from