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By Dianne Rudolph, APRN, GNP-BC, CWOCN, UTHSCSA

Pressure injuries (PIs) are defined by the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel as “localized damage to the skin and/or underlying soft tissue usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device.” Pressure injuries may present as intact skin or as an open ulcer. These wound may be painful. Pressure injuries occur after exposure to prolonged pressure or as a result of pressure in combination with shear. Other factors may affect soft tissue tolerance, such as nutrition, perfusion, microclimate, the presence of comorbidities, and the condition of the soft tissue.

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Moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) is a common problem for wound clinicians. It connotes a spectrum of skin damage caused by inflammation and erosion (or denudation) of the epidermis resulting from prolonged exposure to various sources of moisture and potential irritants. These can include urine, stool, perspiration, wound exudates, or ostomy effluent. MASD includes several different categories: incontinence-associated dermatitis (AID), intertriginous dermatitis, periwound skin damage, and peristomal MASD. Of these categories, IAD is one of the more challenging issues for clinicians to recognize and treat. It is not uncommon for IAD to be inaccurately assessed as a stage 2 pressure injury. For the purposes of this blog, the focus is on differentiating between IAD and pressure injuries. Treatment strategies are also addressed.

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