The Compression Intensity Index: A practical anatomical estimate of the biomechanical risk for a deep tissue injury

Amit Gefen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Pressure-related deep tissue injury (DTI) is a severe form of pressure ulcer that initiates in compressed muscle tissues under bony prominences, and progresses superficially towards the skin. Patients with impaired motosensory capacities are at high risk of developing DTI. There is a critical medical need for developing risk assessment tools for DTI. A new anatomical index, the Compression Intensity Index: CII=(BW/Rt)1/2, which depends on the body weight (BW), radius of curvature of the ischial tuberosities (R) and thickness of the underlying gluteus muscles (t), is suggested for approximating the loading intensity in muscle tissue during sitting in permanent wheelchair users, as part of a clinically-oriented risk assessment for DTI. Preliminary CII data were calculated for 6 healthy and 4 paraplegic subjects following MRI scans, and data were compared between the groups and with respect to a gold standard, being a previously developed subject-specific MRI-finite-element (MRI-FE) method of calculating muscle tissue stresses (Linder-Ganz et al., J. Biomech. 2007). Marked differences between the R and t parameters of the two groups caused the CII values of the paraplegics to be ∼ 1.6-fold higher than for the healthy (p<0.001), thereby indicating on the sensitivity of this parameter to the pathoanatomical changes that occur in the buttocks with paraplegia. Data of CII correlated reasonably with the gold standard calculations of MRI-FE muscle stresses (correlation coefficient 0.65). Since CII measurements do not require highly-specialized biomechanical numerical analyses such as MRI-FE, CII has the potential to serve as a practical, quick, and cost-effective approximation of the loading intensity in muscles of wheelchair-bound or bedridden patients. Hence, CII measurements can be integrated into DTI-risk-assessment tools, the need of which is now being discussed intensively in the American and European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel meetings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalTechnology and Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Analytical model
  • Bed sore
  • Contact mechanics
  • Decubitus
  • Pressure ulcer


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