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Similar proportions of patients developed pressure ulcers on alternating pressure overlays and alternating pressure mattresses

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Q What is the relative effectiveness of alternating pressure overlays and alternating pressure mattresses for preventing pressure ulcers in hospital patients with limited mobility?


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:


Embedded ImageFollow up period:

median 9 days (range 0–63).*

Embedded ImageSetting:

10 hospitals in the UK.

Embedded ImagePatients:

1972 patients ⩾55 years of age (mean age 75 y, 64% women) admitted to vascular, orthopaedic, medical, or elderly care wards in the previous 24 hours, with an expected hospital stay of ⩾7 days and limited activity and mobility (Braden scores of 1 or 2) or existing grade 2 pressure ulcer. Elective surgical patients were included if they were expected to have limited mobility for ⩾3 days postoperatively. Exclusion criteria included ⩾ grade 3 pressure ulcer, planned admission to intensive care ward after surgery, sleeping in a chair at night, and weight <45 kg or >140 kg.

Embedded ImageIntervention:

alternating pressure overlay (n = 990) or alternating pressure mattress (n = 982) for …

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  • * Information provided by author.

  • For correspondence: Professor N Cullum, University of York, York, UK. nac2{at}

  • Source of funding: Health Technology Assessment Programme of the UK Department of Health.