Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 6, 2008
   Pages 875 — 882

Abstract - Effect of model design, cushion construction, and interface pressure mats on interface pressure and immersion

Leigh Pipkin, MSPO; Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT*

School of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Abstract — Measuring interface pressure (IP) is one way to characterize cushion performance in the clinic and laboratory. This study explored how the presence of four commercially available IP mats affected IP on and immersion of two buttocks models. We loaded seven cushions with each buttocks model and captured pressure data using FSA sensors (Vista Medical Ltd; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada). Analysis was performed to compare pressure magnitude and immersion. Overall, both pressure magnitude and immersion changed after mat introduction. A significant interaction existed between cushion and mat condition and cushion and model for all variables. Introducing an IP mat to the model-cushion interface alters the loading on the cushion. The mats bridged the contours of the model, causing a change in IP at the locations studied. Although immersion was statistically different between mat conditions, the magnitude of the difference was less than 1 mm once we accounted for the thickness of the mats. The significance of the cushion-mat interaction indicates that the mat effect differed across cushion design. Clinical and research users of pressure mats should consider the effect of mat presence, the effect of model design, and mat and buttocks interactions with cushions for successful use.

Key words: anatomic models, assistive technology, disability, interface pressure, pressure sensors, pressure ulcer prevention, rehabilitation, standards, test method, wheelchair seating, wheelchairs.

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