Elimination of a pressure ulcer with electrical stimulation - a case study

Iván J. Sosa, Onix Reyes, Damien P. Kuffler


Pressure ulcers, also called decubitus ulcers, are a common challenge of humanity and are exceptionally difficult to heal. They are wounds that are initiated by relatively short periods of pressure on the skin that blocks blood circulation causing the skin and underlying tissues to die, leading to an open wound. Pressure release can prevent further tissue degeneration, and some ulcers heal and disappear by themselves. However, many pressure ulcers never heal and continue to grow in diameter and depth. By one year, such unhealing ulcers are referred to as chronic ulcers. Chronic ulcers frequently jeopardize the life of the patient due to infections that become increasingly deep until they invade bones and the circulatory system. We report on a patient with a chronic pressure ulcer at his coccyx prominence. Fourteen months after the ulcer had appeared, a surface pulse electromagnetic force (PEMF) stimulator was applied over T7 - T8, 45 cm cephalic to the ulcer, as part of a nerve stimulation study. Although the ulcer had continued to grow both in diameter and depth for 14 months and showed no signs of healing, within 6 days of applying the PEMF stimulator, the ulcer began to heal and was fully eliminated after 3 months. We concluded that the electrical stimulation induced the healing of the pressure ulcer. The ulcer elimination is quite surprising due to the exceptionally low electric field-force being generated by the stimulator at a distance of 45 cm.


Pressure ulcers; Ulcer elimination; Wound healing

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982