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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(3):203-13.

Assessing evidence supporting redistribution of pressure for pressure ulcer prevention: a review.

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Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The formation and underlying causes of pressure ulcers (PUs) are quite complex, with multiple influencing factors. However, by definition pressure ulcers cannot form without loading, or pressure, on tissue. Clinical interventions typically target the magnitude and/or duration of loading. Pressure magnitude is managed by the selection of support surfaces and postural supports as well as body posture on supporting surfaces. Duration is addressed via turning and weight shifting frequency as well as with the use of dynamic surfaces that actively redistribute pressure on the body surfaces. This article shows that preventative interventions must be targeted to both magnitude and duration and addresses the rationale behind several common clinical interventions--some with more scientific evidence than others.

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