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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2015 Mar;10(2):165-9. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2013.867371. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Development and evaluation of a self-regulating alternating pressure air cushion.

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  • 1Department of Gerontological Nursing/Wound Care Management, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo , Tokyo , Japan and.



To investigate the effect of alternating air cells of a newly developed dynamic cushion on interface pressure and tissue oxygenation levels.


This cross-over experimental study included 19 healthy volunteers. The dynamic cushion used has an automatic self-regulating alternating pressure air-cell system with 35 small and four large air cells for maintaining posture while seated. This cushion also has 17 bottoming-out detectors that automatically inflate the air cells to release a high interface pressure. To assess the effect of this alternating system, participants sat on the new cushion with an alternating system or static system for 30 min and then performed push-ups. The interface pressure was monitored by pressure-sensitive and conductive ink film sensors and tissue oxygenation levels were monitored by near-infrared spectroscopy. A reactive hyperaemia indicator was calculated using tissue oxygenation levels as an outcome measure.


The peak interface pressure was not significantly different between the groups. The reactive hyperaemia indicator was significantly higher in the static group than in the alternating group.


An alternating system has beneficial effects on blood oxygenation levels without increasing interface pressure. Therefore, our new cushion is promising for preventing pressure ulcers with patients with limited ability to perform push-ups. Implications for Rehabilitation A dynamic cushion was developed, which consists of a uniquely-designed air-cell layout, detectors for bottoming out, and an alternating system with multiple air-cell lines. The alternating system did not increase interface pressure and it significantly reduced reactive hyperaemia after 30 min of sitting in healthy volunteers. This cushion is a new option for individuals who require stable posture but have limitations in performing scheduled push-ups for prevention of pressure ulcers.


Blood flow; dynamic cushion; interface pressure; pressure ulcer; prevention; push-ups

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