Prevention of pressure ulcer: interaction of body characteristics and different mattresses

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Abstract

We analysed the effect of different body features on contact area, interface pressure and pressure distribution of three different mattresses. Thirty-eight volunteers (age ranged from 17 to 73 years, 23 females) were asked to lie on three different mattresses in a random order: I, standard hospital foam mattresses; II, higher specification foam mattresses (Viscorelax Sure®); III, constant low pressure devices (CareMedx®, AirSystems). Measurements were performed in supine position and in a 90° left- and right-sided position, respectively, using a full-body mat (pressure mapping device Xsensor X2-Modell). Outcome variables were contact area (CA) in cm2, mean interface pressure (IP) in mmHg and pressure distribution (PD) estimated as rate of low pressures between 5 and 33 mmHg on each mattress in percent. Mean CA was lowest in the standard hospital foam mattresses and increased in the higher specification foam mattresses and was highest in the constant low pressure device (supine position: 491 ± 86 cm2, 615 ± 95 cm2, 685 ± 116 cm2). Mean IP was highest in the standard hospital foam mattresses and lower but similar in the higher specification foam mattresses and the constant low pressure devices (supine position: 22·3 ± 1·5 mmHg, 17·6 ± 1·7 mmHg, 17·6 ± 2·2 mmHg). Models were estimated for CA, IP and PD including the independent variables height, weight and waist-to-hip-ratio (WHR). They show that body morphology seems to play a minor role for CA, IP and PD, but very thin and tall patients and very small and obese people might benefit from different mattresses. Our data show that CA increases with increasing specification of mattresses. Higher specification foam mattresses and constant low pressure devices show similar IP, but constant low pressure devices show a wider pressure distribution. Body morphology should be considered to optimise prevention for single patients.

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