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Thermodynamic rigid cushion loading indenter:A buttock-shaped temperature and humidity measurement system for cushioning surfaces under anatomical compression conditions

Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD, et al.
Figure1.Diagrammatic expanded view of thermodynamic rigid cushion loading indenter (TRCLI).

As the wheelchair cushion industry matures, the focus on prevention of decubitus formation shifts from tissue loading to the contributing factors in sore formation. Two of the factors believed to contribute to tissue stress and ultimately ulceration are elevated skin temperature and moisture trapped in the body/cushion interface microclimate. A range of commercial wheelchair cushions was tested, representing a broad sample of materials of construction and contour to the body. The results show that the measurement system is highly repeatable and sensitive to differences between cushions. The results have allowed us to cluster the cushions into two distinct groups: those with higher heat dissipation (cooler) and higher moisture build-up and those with lower heat dissipation (warmer) but lower moisture build-up. We believe that this new test method will ultimately reliably measure a wheelchair cushion's impact on the heat and moisture characteristics of the microclimate created by the close association of a body with a cushion.

Volume 46 Number 7, 2009
   Pages 945 — 956

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