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Acta Med Okayama. 2004 Feb;58(1):37-44.

Finding the optimal setting of inflated air pressure for a multi-cell air cushion for wheelchair patients with spinal cord injury.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Okayama University Medical School, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


Pressure distribution patterns of the seating interface on the multi-cell air cushion (ROHO High Profile) of 36 adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) (Neurological level Th3 -L1) were measured at different air pressure levels by a pressure mat measurement system. Stress distribution relative to the inflated air pressure in the air cushion on the patients' wheelchairs was analyzed to determine the appropriate inflated air pressure of the cushion for patients. The maximum pressure points in all subjects were at the areas of the ischial tuberosities (82 to 347 mmHg). The optimal reduction in interface pressure at the ischial tuberosities was obtained just before bottoming out. The cushion air pressure at that point was between 17 and 42 mmHg, and correlated well to body weight (r = 0.495, P = 0.0021). In contrast, the maximum pressure levels did not correlate to body weight or the Body Mass Index (BMI). Pressure at the ischial area could be reduced, but not eliminated, by adjusting the air pressure. The maximum pressure levels seemed to be related to the shape of the buttocks, especially the amount of soft tissue, and exceeded the defined threshold for pressure ulcers (> 80 g/cm2).

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