Clinical effectiveness of a low-tech versus high-tech pressure-redistributing mattress

Cavicchioli, Andrea and Carella, Giulia (2007) Clinical effectiveness of a low-tech versus high-tech pressure-redistributing mattress. Journal of Wound Care, 16 (7). pp. 285-289.

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Objective: To compare the effectiveness of a high-specification foam mattress (control) with a high-tech (Duo2, Hill Rom) alternating/continuous low-pressure mattress (treatment) in the prevention of pressure ulceration. The study also evaluated if there is a difference in performance between the two working modalities (alternating and continuous low pressure) of the high-tech mattress in a comparable sample of patients. Method: Thirty-three patients were observed for two weeks in the control group. In the treatment group, 86 patients were randomised to receive alternating low pressure and 84 continuous low pressure. Incidence of pressure ulcers in both arms was recorded. Student’s t-test was used to compare all Braden scores, and the chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test to evaluate differences between groups. Results: There was a high difference in the number of new pressure ulcers in the control group when compared with the treatment group. There was no difference in performance between the alternating and continuous low-pressure modes. However, the sample size is too small to prove or disprove a statistically significant difference between the two modalities. Conclusion: The high-tech mattress was markedly more effective than the high-specification foam mattress in preventing the onset of pressure ulcers. Initial data suggest that the use of alternating or continuous low pressure made little or no difference to the results. Declaration of interest: Hill-Rom provided the Duo2 surfaces in the two of the three hospitals involved in the trial, but no other financial support was received.

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