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The relationship between in-seat movement and pressure ulcers in wheelchair users with SCI/D.

  • Sonenblum, Sharon Eve1
  • Feng, Chen2
  • Sprigle, Stephen3
  • 1 George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. , (Georgia)
  • 2 H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. , (Georgia)
  • 3 Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. , (Georgia)
Published Article
The journal of spinal cord medicine
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
DOI: 10.1080/10790268.2022.2122340
PMID: 36260494


To identify parameters that are associated with time at pressure, are most related to pressure ulcer outcomes, and that may be used to influence pressure ulcer (PrU) outcomes in future intervention studies. Analysis used datasets from cross-sectional and longitudinal observational studies. Wheelchair-usage and in-seat metrics thresholds were optimized to differentiate individuals in PrU or No PrU groups. Logistic regression identified the demographics and in-seat activity metrics that impacted PrU outcomes. General Community. Fifty individuals with spinal cord injuries and/or disorders (SCI/D) who use a wheelchair as their primary mobility device. 22 subjects were within the first year following injury and 28 had been using a wheelchair for over 2 years. Twenty-one participants reported PrU outcomes. Not applicable. Time in chair, pressure relief frequency, weight shift frequency, percentage of seated time that the subject is active (CoP Percent Active), frequency of in-seat movement, unloading event frequency, maximum time between events, and number of transfers. Optimal cutoff thresholds for the most significant in-seat movement metrics included: unloading event frequency of 3.1 times per hour (OR 0.353, 95% CI [0.110, 1.137]), maximum time between events of 155.4 min (OR 2.888, 95% CI [0.886, 9.413]), and CoP Percent Active of 2.6% (OR 0.221, 95% CI [0.063, 0.767]). When individuals were more active than these cutoffs, significantly more individuals were in the no pressure ulcer group. In predictive modeling, CoP Percent Active was the in-seat movement metric that significantly predicted PrU outcomes. The model was improved by adding age, occupation, and injury completeness. Of the 4 significant predictors in the model, only CoP Percent Active was modifiable. Therefore, an opportunity exists to design approaches to modify behavior. However, the results illustrate that the key to preventative movement may be through functional movement as opposed to scheduled, routine pressure reliefs.

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