Can Bed Sores Cause Osteomyelitis?

By Nursing Home Law Center

While bed sores do not directly cause osteomyelitis, the open wounds that accompany severe bed sores leave many patients susceptible to infection. Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bones that is caused by bacteria. In adults, the most common types of osteomyelitis causing bacteria are S. Aureus, Enterobacter and Streptococcus. In cases of severe bed sores (also referred to as decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers or pressure sores) the bacteria enters the body through the open wound and attacks the bone. Once the bone becomes infected, enzymes are released that restrict the bodies ability to heal. If left untreated osteomyelitis can spread into the bone marrow and surrounding joints.

In order to provide the best prognosis, osteomyelitis must be identified as early on as possible. Early signs of osteomyelitis may be treated with antibiotics. More advanced cases may require surgical debridement. In severe cases of osteomyelitis, amputation may be required to prevent the infection from spreading. Sadly, the mortality rate for people with osteomyelitis related to bed sores is extremely high.

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