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Cutaneous Anomalies of the Critically Ill Patient.


Critically ill patients are at high risk for organ failure, including that of the integumentary system. Nurses working in intensive care are adept at performing comprehensive assessments that include the skin. Although pressure injury is a well-known complication associated with critical illness, patients may also have debilitating and life-threatening dermatoses. Conditions such as skin failure and medical adhesive-related skin damage are commonly seen in the critically ill. Infectious processes, such as Fournier gangrene, invasive candidiasis, mucormycosis, and herpetic lesions, can result in severe or superimposed critical illness and elude detection. Similarly, cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 may develop prior to commonly recognized symptoms of infection. Nurses and providers caring for critically ill patients should be aware of common, but less widely known, skin conditions to facilitate early detection and treatment.

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