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Alternating air mattress better than overlay for ulcer prevention

Alternating air pressure mattresses are more effective than overlays for preventing pressure ulcers in mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care, Spanish researchers have concluded.

Their study included 221 ICU patients, around half of whom had alternative pressure air mattresses and half alternating pressure air overlays.

There was a significantly lower incidence of grade II or worse pressure ulcers in the mattress group compared to the overlay group – 12.41 cases per 1,000 days versus 18.67 cases per 1,000 days of stay.

Writing in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, the authors said use of the mattress was found to be a “protective factor against pressure ulcer onset”.

“Alternative pressure air mattresses were more effective than alternating pressure air overlays in preventing pressure ulcers in mechanically ventilated critical care patients,” they added.

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