David L Larson, MD Department of Plastic Surgery – Froedtert & Medical College, Milwaukee, WI
It is my professional opinion the concept of alternating pressure in a wheelchair cushion is effective in the prevention of pressure ulcers in those patients who are restricted to use of a wheelchair.
As a plastic surgeon who has been involved in the care of pressure ulcer patients most of my 25 year career, I have come to realize the value of alternating pressure in the immediate post op period. Our protocol requires that patients be restricted to total bed rest in a supine position, for 3 weeks after repair of a pressure ulcer. During this time the patient lies directly on the flap repair of the ulcer, and are during this entire 3 week period lying on a special alternating pressure mattress. While on this protocol patients keep their repair intact, and are then started on a progressive sitting schedule (sitting for 15 minutes bid x 2 days, 30 minutes bid x 2 days, etc.)
Within 2-3 weeks they are sitting for extended periods of time just as they were before their ulcer. With an alternating pressure wheelchair cushion patients are rehabilitated earlier, sitting sooner, being discharged from the hospital faster, and are not returning with pressure ulcers. It is my understanding that the Aquila alternating pressure Air Pulse PK seating cushion provides distinct possibilities for patients suffering from pressure problems. Though my experience is limited to a small number of patients at this time, in those that have used it, it is a godsend.
-David L Larson, MD Department of Plastic Surgery – Froedtert & Medical College, Milwaukee, WI