What is ‘eschar’ and why is it used when describing bed sores?

Eschar is dead tissue that is cast off from the surface of the skin that is frequently seen in bed sores. Sometimes physicians also refer to eschar as a “black wound” because the wound is covered with thick, dry, black necrotic tissue.

It is important for health professionals to document if a wound has eschar, both to help in wound staging and to determine if the wound is healing.  It order for bed sores (also referred to as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) to heal , the eschar must be removed from the wound via natural abrasion or  surgical debridement.

If eschar is on a limb, it is important to assess peripheral pulses of the affected limb to make sure blood and lymphatic circulation is not compromised. If circulation is compromised, surgical intervention such as amputation may be necessary.

Bed sore with eschar