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Preventing medical adhesive-related skin injury (MARSI)

12 August 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 15


Medical adhesive-related skin injury (MARSI) is an overlooked and underestimated problem. While awareness of this issue is growing, it is not fully understood by health professionals in a variety of clinical settings. Medical adhesive products are often applied and removed incorrectly, which, albeit unintentionally, causes skin damage. In many cases, MARSI should be considered a preventable injury. Organisations should have processes in place to educate health professionals in acute and community facilities in preventing MARSI; these processes should include the use of products that help to prevent these injuries, including medical adhesive removers. This article will explore this topic and relate it to the most recent consensus document.

Medical adhesive-related skin injury (MARSI) has been overlooked and underestimated for a considerable time (McNichol et al, 2013; McNichol and Bianchi, 2016; Ousey and Wasek, 2016). McNichol et al (2013) first described it in a guidance document developed by a consensus panel. They reported that, when the correct techniques for the application and removal of adhesive products were not used, tissue trauma could occur, impacting patients' safety and quality of life, and increasing healthcare costs. Their document includes consensus statements on the assessment, prevention and treatment of MARSI. Fumarola et al (2020), in the international consensus document Overlooked and underestimated: Medical Adhesive-related Skin Injuries, have extended this pivotal guidance, expanding on the work done nationally and internationally in this area, and adding to the evidence.

The effects of MARSI are broad; it is not a simple area of skin damage but has potential to be widespread, with loss of skin integrity. It may lead to soft tissue infection, a delay in wound healing and increased pain, negatively affecting a patient's quality of life (McNichol and Bianchi, 2016; Ousey and Wasek, 2016).

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