Are Powered Mattress Systems Clinically Appropriate for all Patients?


New Research confirms that it can be an unnecessary expenditure

Pressure injury and ulcers remain one of the major preventable costs in healthcare today. In the U.S alone, 2.5 million health care patients are affected by pressure ulcers, with approximately 60,000 of those patients dying each year as a result of ulcer co-morbidities. In addition to the untold patient and family suffering, the financial costs in the United States are estimated at $9.1 – $11.6 billion per year.

Clearly, preventing pressure injury and ulcers is a dominant mission of healthcare professionals, institutions, the government, and private enterprise. Everyone involved in healthcare are seeking better ways to help reduce the emotional, financial, and legal burdens caused by a largely preventable injury.

For over 60 years, patient/mattress interface pressure mapping has been the only mattress design and evaluation system utilized by the healthcare industry. Until recently, the major challenge related to pressure injury prevention was a meaningful mattress design and evaluation process.

However, a new technology, research, and clinical trials are demonstrating that patient/ mattress interface pressure alone is not a meaningful real-time indicator of relative risk of pressure injury and ulcer development.

Unintended Consequences

In 2008, Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminated payments for costs related to inpatient Length-of-Stay (LOS) due to Hospital Acquired infections or Pressure Ulcer development (HAPU). As a result, clinical mattress and offloading systems manufacturers have sold an ever growing array of powered low air loss and alternating mattress system to healthcare institutions largely under the premise that a powered, one-size-fits-all mattress system would help reduce pressure ulcer incidence and prevalence among ALL patients at a lower cost. This hope has largely not materialized.

A new mattress system evaluation and design technology has been developed that can simultaneously measure patient/mattress interface pressure plus provide real-time measurement of deep tissue oxygen saturation values in anatomical tissues at greatest risk for pressure injury and ulcer development. This system is patent-pending.

New Technology

Utilizing real-time simultaneous measurement of patient/mattress interface pressure and deep tissue oxygen values, researchers evaluated 16 of the most common non-powered equalizing and air powered low air loss and alternating mattress systems on the market today. Tissue Oxygen data supports the hypothesis that most sensate and semi ambulatory patients maintain higher natural blood perfusion values as measured by oxygen saturation values on non-powered equalizing, immersion mattress systems.

This technology was utilized to help design OXY-MAT™, the next generation of equalizing, non-powered mattress systems. OXY-MAT™ technology maximizes patient immersion and pressure equalization to help optimize blood perfusion and deep tissue oxygen values naturally.

OXY-MAT™ is replacing powered mattress systems and rentals in hospitals, acute rehabilitation, and long term care facilities at lower cost and with improved outcomes, as reported by staff.

Independent Clinical Trials

This new research and independent clinical trials support the preponderance of skilled nursing experience that powered mattress system noise, heat and movement can induce insomnia and can cause a non-specific myalgia due to a patients’ isometric tensioning in an attempt to remain stationary on a moving surface. These and other factors may adversely affect patient length of stay and clinical outcomes.

This research is also demonstrating that the majority of sensate and semi ambulatory hospitalized and/or long term care inpatients (90+% of in-patients) are able to effect meaningful movement and induce normal active hyperemia and clinically do not require powered mattress systems.

In one hospital-based independent clinical trial completed in 2013, the institution replaced 15 powered mattress system rentals with OXY-MAT™ and saved $48,000 annually plus had a pressure injury/ulcer incidence (HAPU) reduction from 5.5% to 1.24% in year one. This trial will soon be published. Several other major sub acute/rehabilitation institutions have converted to OXY-MAT™. Ongoing clinical trials have similar positive outcomes. This Hospital has subsequently converted all their Medical / Surgical beds to OXY-MAT™.

OXY-MAT™ website:

To order the full report from Surgical Technology International, click here.

Author Contact:


  1. Pressure Ulcers. January 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. . Accessed June 29 2016.
  2. Oxy-MatTM Mattress System Development Utilizing Simultaneous Measurement of Interface Pressure and Deep Tissue Oxygen Saturation. Butler, GJ. Kenyon, DJ, Golembe E, et al. Surgical Technology International XXVI. 71-82.
  3. Cost Savings and Pressure Injury / Ulcer Reduction in 7-Week Clinical Trial of a New, Non-Powered Mattress System Design.Donatelli E, Adler M, Rogers C. Symposium on Advanced Wound Care. Fall 2016. Poster Presentation. Pending.
  4. Clinical Mattress Evaluation and Design Using Real-Time Simultaneous Interface Pressure and Deep Tissue Oxygen Measurements. Lee B, Butler GJ, Dyevich M, et al. Symposium on Advanced Wound Care. Fall 2016. Poster Presentation. Pending.

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