“Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practices” – Dr. Barry M. Farr MD, MSc
This study published in “Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practices” Volume 21, Number 1, January 2013, describes the comparison of two alternating air wheelchair cushions: The AQUILA Corporation Airpulse PK and the Ease G-100 and Stage 1 Overlay. The study discovered which cushion was effective in preventing AND treating furuncles over a 170 day period. (Furuncle: technical name for a boil)
The Aquila Airpulse PK cushion arrived first and began being used for increasing lengths of time from 3 to 8 hours per day with no evidence of infection. It was obvious that the alternating air cushion was working to prevent infection because sitting that much on a static cushion had not been possible during 2011 without developing a new furuncle. The pump supplied with the Aquila cushion was programmed to allow the patient to vary the frequency of cycling and the pressure applied during massage.
Two cushions were supplied by Ease Cushion, G-100 and the Stage 1 Overlay. Compared with the Aquila cushion, Ease G-100 provided weak pulsations and only cycled once every 4.5 minutes. There was discomfort of the left buttock after sitting on the Ease for less than an hour and a painful, palpable, new furuncle developed 3 days after the patient began sitting on it.
For this reason, the patient switched back to using the Aquila cushion, where there had been no problem. When the left buttock was again free of infection, the patient switched to using the Ease Stage 1 Overlay. Another furuncle developed 3 days after he began sitting on the Stage 1 Overlay for 3 hours a day. The patient switched back to using the Aquila cushion again. This procedure of switching back and forth continued until 7 new furuncles had developed on the left buttock during use of the Ease cushions, compared to no new furuncles during use of the Aquila cushion.
At that point, data collection for the study stopped, and the patient stopped sitting on Ease cushions and began sitting only on the Aquila cushion. No new furuncles developed. This study found a dramatic reduction in the rate of pressure related infections when the patient sat on an alternating air cushion manufactured by the Aquila Corporation as compared to Ease Cushion. This suggests that different alternating air cushions may not be equally effective.
Some may claim that the superior efficacy of the Aquila cushion was merely caused by malfunctioning Ease cushions, but this would not alter the conclusion that a properly functioning alternating air cushion can prevent pressure-related infections.
Ease Cushion loaned the investigator a G-100 cushion and a Stage 1 Overlay cushion for the duration of the study. The investigator purchased an Aquila cushion. After the study was complete, Dr. Farr purchased an additional 3 complete Airpulse PK cushion systems.