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KINETIC CONCEPTS' KINAIR AIR SUSPENSION BED REDUCES RISK OF PRESSURE ULCERS

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

KINETIC CONCEPTS' KINAIR AIR SUSPENSION BED REDUCES RISK OF PRESSURE ULCERS in critically ill patients to about one-fifth of the risk faced by patients in standard hospital beds, Kevin Inman, University of Western Ontario, et al. report in a study published in the March 3 Journal of the American Medical Association. Based on a study of 98 patients, the authors found that critically ill patients were "about 18% as likely to develop a [single] pressure ulcer as patients on a standard bed." The study was performed on intensive care unit patients "at risk for the development of pressure ulcers" who were expected to remain in the intensive care unit for three days or longer. Half of the 98 ICU patients were randomized to use the Kinair air suspension bed, while the other half were randomized to use standard ICU beds with rotation every two hours. In addition to the reduction in single ulcers, patients in the air-suspension bed group were also found less likely to develop multiple pressure ulcers, indicated by a 0.11 odds ratio. Also, "significantly fewer [patients] (odds ratio, 0.16) developed severe pressure ulcers on an air suspension bed than on a standard bed." The study states that "these results may be directly related to the air suspension bed's ability to reduce the pressure exerted over bony prominences and therefore to maintain an adequate blood supply to the affected areas." The KinAir bed reduces pressure "through a controlled air suspension system," according to Kinetic Concepts. A blower system compresses room air and channels it into four manifolds. Air flows from each manifold to the cushions above it through nipples on the bottom of each cushion. The authors of the study say that "this bed provides a smooth, low-friction, low-shear surface with a high moisture vapor transmission rate, decreasing physical stresses on the skin." The study also looked at the cost-effectiveness of using an air suspension bed as opposed to a standard hospital bed. The authors found that the air suspension bed "provided a more clinically effective treatment less expensively than the traditional approach of frequent patient rotation." The authors estimate that 16 pressure ulcers would develop for every 100 at-risk patients using KinAir beds, which were leased for $45 per day. The cost of treating the ulcers and leasing the beds, according to the study, would total $51,109. In contrast, the cost of treating the 80 pressure ulcers expected to develop per every 100 at-risk patients convalescing in standard ICU beds is estimated at $125,177. That figure represents solely the cost of pressure ulcer treatment; for the purposes of the study, standard ICU beds were assigned a cost of zero. The authors of the study conclude that the air suspension bed provides "increased effectiveness in the form of fewer pressure ulcers for less money than the current program of a standard ICU bed and frequent patient rotation."
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