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The pathophysiological links between pressure ulcers and pain and the role of the support surface in mitigating both

Amit Gefen, Esa Soppi
11 December 2020

This article reviews the reported associations between the alleviation of sustained or excessive tissue deformation and mitigation of pressure ulcer (PU) risk or associated pain, with a specific focus on the role of the support surface. Three patient case studies are used to analyse relevant literature and demonstrate important links between aetiological factors for PUs, background diseases, perceptions of discomfort and pain, and the ability of an adequate support surface to provide relief. Taken together, the literature and case studies indicate that alleviation of sustained or excessive soft tissue deformation caused by weight-bearing forces — through adequate envelopment of the support surface — protects from PUs and also effectively relieves chronic pain.

Disclaimer: The authors are consultants to Carital Ltd (Helsinki, Finland), whose minimum tissue deformation (MTD) mattress technology is referred to in this article. These relationships had no influence on the literature review and interpretations of the clinical data reported here.

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