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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989 Mar;37(3):235-42.

Air-fluidized bed treatment of nursing home patients with pressure sores.

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  • 1Division of Geriatric Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Mason F. Lord Chronic Hospital and Nursing Home, Baltimore, MD 21224.


There are no large studies on long-term treatment of nursing home patients with pressure sores. A 4-year experience of treating 95 nursing home patients on air-fluidized beds was reviewed. Treated patients were elderly (median age 73 years) and neurologically impaired (79% with dementia, cerebral vascular accident, or anoxic encephalopathy). The index pressure sores (deepest truncal sore for each patient) were large (median surface area 35.3 cm2) and commonly located on the sacrum (41%) and trochanters (38%). Only 13 of 95 (14%) index sores healed completely, and only two small sores healed in less than 30 days. No others treated less than 30 days had greater than or equal to 50% reduction in sore surface area. Patients were grouped according to whether or not treatment was less than 30 days, and for those treated greater than or equal to 30 days, according to whether or not greater than or equal to 50% reduction in sore surface area occurred. None of the easily measured patient characteristics examined were associated with longer or more successful treatment. These results indicate that although air-fluidized beds can be used to treat pressure sores successfully, even in severely debilitated nursing home patients, no simple criteria can be used to predict which patients will benefit from this treatment. Because long periods of time are necessary for treatment [median trial length 79 days and 17 of 95 (18%) trials greater than 180 days], substantial patient-care expenditures result.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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