A pressure ulcer is an area of skin that breaks down when you stay in one position for too long without shifting your weight. This often happens if you use a wheelchair or you are bedridden, even for a short period of time (for example, after surgery or an injury). The constant pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply to that area, and the affected tissue dies.
A pressure ulcer starts as reddened skin but gets progressively worse, forming a blister, then an open sore, and finally a crater. The most common places for pressure ulcers are over bony prominences (bones close to the skin) like the elbow, heels, hips, ankles, shoulders, back, and the back of the head. Pressure ulcers may become infected. Fever, weakness, and confusion are signs that infection may have spread to the blood or elsewhere in the body. For this reason, the prevention of pressure ulcers is of primary importance to a patient.
Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (KCI) has introduced a new mattress replacement system (MRS), the AtmosAir(R) V-series MRS (pictured), designed to assist hospitals in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. The new MRS has all the benefits of the company’s AtmosAir line and is a non-powered Self Adjusting Technology(TM) (SAT) mattress able to prevent and treat pressure ulcers. The MRS technology works automatically, keeping patients at an appropriate level of pressure redistribution with no power or patient adjustment required. The product will provide hospitals with the flexibility they need to quickly and aggressively fight against the hospital acquired pressure ulcers for which CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) in the U.S. will stop reimbursement on October 1, 2008.
"KCI is a recognized leader in therapeutic surface technologies and we are committed to providing solutions that improve outcomes for patients," said Lynne Sly, KCI's President of Global Therapeutic Support Systems.
Susan Krause, RN, MSNc, Certified Wound Specialist and Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse Consultant with the Wound Healing Department at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego said: "Patient care is our key focus and we are interested in any innovation that will improve the patient experience. AtmosAir surfaces are a vital part of our prevention strategy for pressure ulcers and we have seen a significant decline in our need for rental products while maintaining our already low incidence rates. Many of our patients continue to avoid the unnecessary pain, infection and discomfort caused by pressure ulcers and they continue to remark how comfortable the mattresses are."
KCI News Release (02/01/08)