The efficacy of Air Mattress in bedsore prevention and treatment

Jul 7, 2020

Air mattress has been one of the fore-runners in patient care to prevent pressure sores. They work in the principle of distributed pressure over larger areas and providing a better interface to pressure sensitive areas. In this study we want to assess the efficacy of their air mattress not only in preventing but also in curing pressure ulcers, as compared to the standard mattresses. We went thought the 1 year hospital records of all patients prone to develop decubitus ulcers and found 57 patients who did develop them. We noted the site, size, duration and severity of the ulcer. We then classified all patients into 2 kinds groups depending on the mattress used.42 of them had the air mattress while 17 did not. Of the 42 patients with the air mattress patients 3 (7%) had a pre existing ulcer while 2 (4%) developed a new ulcer during their stay (Total 5, 11%). On the other none of the 15 patients on the standard mattress had a pre existing ulcer, but 5 (33.3%) of them developed a new ulcer during their stay. After discovery of the ulcer an immediate treatment protocol was set into place. All 5 (100%) patients with ulcers on the air mattress got full ulcer recovery while only 2 out of the 5 (40%) patients on the standard mattress recoveredThere was a significant difference both in the incidence and rate of healing of decubitus ulcers in patients using air mattresses as compared to standard mattress. We therefore recommend use of air mattress for all patients prone to ulcers and also to patients who have already developed such ulcers for speedy recovery.


Decubitus ulcers or bedsores as they are commonly known as is a complication which ails the elderly or patients with restricted mobility , leading to extended pressure on certain parts of skin , leading to necrosis , sloughing and finally ulceration. These sores not only increase the morbidity of the patient , they may contribute to patient mortality [1] .The condition is often avoidable using pressure ulcer prevention strategies which reduce the magnitude and duration of pressure at the interface of a patient and his/her support surface (mattress). This may be achieved by physically repositioning the patient (either manually or using turning beds), and / or using pressure relieving support surfaces such as cushions, mattress overlays, specialty mattresses or specialty beds.

Since sustained pressure is the cause of these ulcers , pressure surface are of utmost importance for the development of these ulcers. The standard hospital mattress in our hospital exerts a pressure of about 120 mmHg. This much pressure can lead to pressure ulcers in susceptible individuals if the same position is maintained for longer durations [2]. Other factors which predispose to ulcers i. In addition to reducing the pressure at the patient/mattress interface, maintaining the general health of the patient’s skin is also essential to prevent pressure ulcers. Moisture accumulation on the skin is an important physical factor predisposing a patient to the occurrence of pressure ulcers are skin conditions, moisture accumulation and general hygiene of the patient [3]. Skin moisture is known to reduce the acidity and therefore its antibacterial property [4].

The prevalence and incidence of skin break down is expected to continue increasing as the elderly population, severely debilitated and patients with polytrauma or fractures continues to increase .Finding ways to prevent the development of skin breakdown and treat it more effectively would be expected to create economic benefits by preventing the need for expensive treatment and equipment. Recognizing and managing pressure ulcers at an early stage to avoid skin lesions turning into pressure ulceration will be absolutely essential.

As discussed before the support surface plays a major role in preventing this condition. In the modern scientific era we have specialized beds to avoid this specific problem [6]. Air mattress is one of them which are known to decrease the incidence of pressure sores [7,8]. We conducted a comparative study in our hospital
to confirm the same and find other realistic facts about:


  • To determine the extent to which
    pressure-relieving support surfaces reduce
    the incidence of pressure ulcers compared
    with standard support surfaces
  • And their comparative effectiveness in
    ulcer recovery.