Impact of hydrocolloid dressings in the prevention of pressure ulcers in high-risk patients: a randomized controlled trial (PENFUP)

Olga L. Cortés, Victor M. Herrera, Luz D. Salazar, Yudy A. Rojas, Maribel Esparza, Alejandra Taborda, Rodolfo José Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review


It is uncertain whether hydrocolloid dressings, a more costly intervention than offering standard care with petrolatum, is superior to prevent pressure ulcers among hospitalized high-risk adults. Randomized, parallel-group, open-label, superiority trial with an active control group, blinded for investigators, event validators, and analysts (December 1, 2015 to December 12, 2017). Eligible patients were ≥ 18 years of age with intact skin judged as high-risk for skin ulcers (Braden scale), admitted to surgical or medical wards of two tertiary-level hospitals. Participants were randomized (1:1) to protection with hydrocolloid dressings or petrolatum. The primary outcome was the first occurrence of pressure ulcers (with post-injury photographs adjudicated by three judges) under intention-to-treat analysis. Based on prior cost analysis, and the available resources (assumed incidence of 6 ulcers/1000 patient-days in controls), inclusion of up to 1500 participants allowed to surpass a one-sided superiority threshold > 5% based on a target efficacy > 40% for dressings. We planned an economic analysis using a decision tree model based on the effectiveness of the study results from a perspective of the third payer of health care. After inclusion of 689 patients (69 events), the trial was stopped for futility after a planned interim analysis (conditional power < 0.1 for all scenarios if the trial was completed). Pressure ulcers had occurred in 34 (10.2%) patients in the intervention group [9.6 per 1000 patient-days] and 35 (9.9%) participants in the control group [7.9 per 1000 patient-days], HR = 1.07 [95% CI 0.67 to 1.71]. The estimated incremental cost for dressings (a dominated strategy) was USD 52.11 per patient. Using hydrocolloid dressings was found similar to petrolatum for preventing pressure ulcers among hospitalized high-risk patients. As it conveys additional costs, and in this study was unlikely to demonstrate enough superiority, this strategy did not overcome conventional skin care. Trial registration: identifier (NCT number): NCT02565745 registered on December 1, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21639
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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