Pressure ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that result from prolonged pressure that impair the blood flow in the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the skin.
Additional factors that could increase a patient's risk for developing pressure ulcers are conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension or ischemic heart disease or any condition that requires the patient to be confined to a bed or chair thereby elevate skin compression. Progressive motor disability ultimately may lead ALS patients to become bed-bound or chair-bound. Although research on ALS has been focused primarily on motor and respiratory impairments, skin-associated complications may represent significant healthcare and financial burdens.
Scientists in Taiwan conducted a nationwide study to assess the correlation between ALS and Pressure Sore development, for a 12-year follow-up period, from Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2011. The investigators collected data from 514 ALS patients (323 men) and 2,056 controls. Results revealed that ALS patients had a greater risk for developing pressure ulcers than controls. Furthermore that women with ALS, especially those older than 50, showed a much higher risk than men. Both less dedication to care of chronic ALS patients by their males spouses and the reduction of skin thickness experienced post menopause could explain these results.
The absolute incidence of Pressure Sores was higher in subjects 55 or older in both patients and control groups.
Results also showed that the the severity of ALS increased the risk of Pressure Sores.
“This study suggests that it is necessary to apply more effective managements for Pressure Ulcer prevention in the ALS patients."
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) an effective therapy for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores is Alternating Pressure therapy.
For the bed-bound ALS patient an Alternating Pressure with Low AIr Loss Mattress System is an effective therapeutic modality for the prevention and treatment of stages I-IV pressure ulcers in ALS patients.
For those patients who find comfort in a home recliner or lift chair, Purely Comfort LLC has developed an Alternating Pressure Recliner Overlay created specifically for the needs of ALS patients.