Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Review: specially designed products to prevent or heal pressure sores are more effective than standard mattresses

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

QUESTION: In patients who are at risk of pressure sores, are pressure relieving beds, mattresses, and cushions (support surfaces) effective for preventing and treating pressure sores?

Data sources

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified by searching 19 databases from their inception to 1997, hand searches of 5 wound care journals, conference abstracts, bibliographies of relevant studies and review articles, and contact with experts and manufacturers. Unpublished data were also sought.

Study selection

Interventions included standard or specialised foam mattresses or overlays; gel, fibre, or water filled mattresses or overlays; alternating pressure mattresses or overlays; air fluidised, bead, or low air loss beds; sheepskins; turning beds or frames; wheelchair cushions; or operating table overlays; and outcomes were incidence or healing rates of sores, cost, comfort, reliability, and acceptability.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study quality, inclusion and exclusion criteria, baseline characteristics, settings, interventions, follow up, outcomes, acceptability, and reliability.

Main results

37 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. …

View Full Text


  • Sources of funding: R&D Department of Health and Personal Social Services, Northern Ireland, UK; NHS Research & Development Programme, UK; NHS Health Technology Assessment Programme, UK.

  • For correspondence: Dr N Cullum, Centre for Evidence Based Nursing, Department of Health Studies, University of York, Genesis 6, York Science Park, York YO10 5DQ, UK. Fax +44 (0)190 443 4102. A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club.