A medical adhesive can be defined as a product used to affix an external component (i.e. tape, dressing, catheter, electrode, ostomy pouch) to the skin. Skin injury related to medical adhesive usage occurs across all care settings with Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries (MARSI) playing a significant role on patient safety. However, how often it occurs in the ambulatory setting is unknown. The objective of this study was to assess all patients seen in the acute and chronic wound care center for MARSI over a 3 month time period.
At an academic medical center the incidence of MARSI was tracked for 3 months in an outpatient wound care center that sees both acute and chronic wounds.
One hundred twenty patients comprising a total of 207 visits were seen over the 3 month time frame. Seven patients were found to have MARSI for an incidence of 5.8%. There were four males and three females with ages ranging from 52-83 with a mean age of 67.7 years. Six of the 7 MARSI were related to having paper tape removed from the skin resulting in epidermal stripping either by a health care professional (N=4) or by the patient themselves (N=2). The other MARSI was related to steri-strip removal by a health care professional.
Education plays a key role decreasing the incidence of MARSI by making health care professionals and consumers aware of MARSI and how it can be prevented. There is a need for continued studies examining MARSI incidence across care settings as well as specific interventions to prevent it. With the emphasis on safety in health care settings, MARSI is an important safety initiative.