Comparison of total body tissue interface pressure of specialized pressure-relieving mattresses

William L. Hickerson, George M. Slugocki, Reuben L. Thaker, Robert Duncan, John F. Bishop, Judy K. Parks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective. The pressure-relieving ability of three specialized support surface mattresses was investigated and compared to a standard hospital mattress by measuring total body tissue interface pressure in a laboratory experiment designed to simulate clinical conditions predisposing to formation of pressure ulcers. Summary Background Data. Pressure ulcers are commonly seen in the elderly; in patients with trauma, burns, spinal cord injury, neurological deficits, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke; and in other patient groups with debilitating or emaciating illness. They represent from 4 to 29% of all hospital admissions. This study was undertaken to compare three different types of specialty beds to a standard hospital mattress in order to find a mattress that prevents the occurrence of pressure ulcers. Methods. The tested beds and mattresses were the Orthoderm™ Convertible II (Bio-Clinic Inc., Ontario, Canada) low air-loss mattress on a Stryker® PMS (Stryker Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA) bed; the FluidAir Elite® (KCI Inc., San Antonio, Texas, USA) air-fluidized bed; the Pegasus Airwave™ mattress (Pegasus Airwave Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, USA) on a Stryker PMS bed; and a standard hospital mattress on a Stryker PMS bed. The nineteen test subjects were all healthy with exclusion criteria of spinal cord injury, immobility, or other neurological or physical impairment. The Force Management System™ (Numotech Inc., Northridge, California, USA) was used to measure tissue interface pressure. Results: The study data show that the Pegasus Airwave mattress total surface pressure values of the anatomical regions (total body, torso, hips) of the body are lower than those of the other three tested mattresses. The total body and hip pressure resulting from pressure maturation is significantly less on the Pegasus Airwave mattress than on to the hospital bed, the air-fluidized bed, and the low air-loss bed. Conclusions: The Pegasus Airwave mattress outperforms the other tested support surfaces by decreasing overall pressure. Therefore, the Pegasus Airwave mattress is an excellent addition to augment nursing care in the prevention and treatment of pressure sores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-93
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Air-fluidized
  • Interface pressure measurement
  • Low air-loss mattress
  • Pegasus Airwave™
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Standard hospital mattress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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