Sitting-acquired pressure ulcers (PUs) are a potentially life-endangering complication for wheelchair users who are obese and have diabetes mellitus. The increased body weight and diabetes-related alterations in weight-bearing tissue properties have been identified in the literature to increase the risk for PUs and deep tissue injuries (DTIs). A computer modeling study was conducted to evaluate the biomechanical effect of an air cell-based (ACB) cushion on tissues with increased fat mass and diabetes, which causes altered stiffness properties in connective tissues with respect to healthy tissues. Specifically, 10 finite element (FE) computer simulations were developed with the strain and stress distributions and localized magnitudes considered as measures of the theoretical risk for PUs and DTIs to assess the effects of fat mass and pathological tissue properties on the effective strains and stresses in the soft tissues of buttocks during sitting on an ACB cushion. The FE modeling captured the anatomy of a seated buttocks acquired in an open magnetic resonance imaging examination of an individual with a spinal cord injury. The ACB cushion facilitated a moderate increase in muscle strains (up to 15%) and stresses (up to 30%), and likewise a moderate increase in size of the affected tissue areas with the increase in fat mass, for both diabetic and nondiabetic conditions. These simulation results suggest wheelchair users who are obese and have diabetes may benefit from using an ACB to minimize the increased mechanical strains and stresses in the weight-bearing soft tissues in the buttocks that result from these conditions. Clinical studies to increase understanding about the risk factors of both obesity and diabetes mellitus for the development of PUs and DTIs, as well as robust preclinical comparative studies, may provide much-needed evidence to help clinicians make informed PU prevention and wheelchair cushion decisions for this patient population and other wheelchair-bound individuals.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Ostomy Wound Management|
|State||Published - Jan 2016|
- finite element modeling
- support surfaces