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Alternating Pressure

What is Alternating Pressure Mattress?

For those with limited mobility, have an open wound, or are at high risk of skin breakdown, an alternating pressure mattress promotes wound healing. The Mattress is constructed of a series of air bladders the width of the mattress whose internal pressures "alternate" in timed cycles. The internal air pressures are controlled by an alternating pressure pump and set according to patient weight and comfort.

For simplicity, a Blue Chip Medical alternating pressure mattress has 18 air bladders. There are two sets of air bladders in a series, While one series of bladders are inflated and firm, the other series of bladders are deflated and soft. In 10-minute cycles the soft bladders become firm and the firm bladders become soft. 

How does an alternating pressure low air loss mattress help prevent and treat pressure sores?

These therapeutic mattresses address the five primary environmental factors that lead to the development of bedsores: Pressure, Heat, Moisture, Shearing & Friction. 

• Pressure = Alternating Pressure
• Heat & Moisture = Low Air Loss
• Shearing & Friction = Highly specialized cover.

Reducing Pressure and Improving Blood Flow Promotes Healthy Skin and Healing.

Blood flow is essential to healthy skin and healing. Reducing pressure between the body and the mattress prevents constriction of the veins allowing improved blood flow. Blood flow brings the essential nutrients the skin cells need to function. Without those nutrients, the skin cells die, and a wound forms. Improving blood flow promotes wound healing. 

A Little Pressure Improves Blood Flow

An alternating pressure mattress also improves blood flow to the skin by a process known as Reactive Hyperemia. The way to describe Reactive Hyperemia is to think of your blood vessels like a garden hose with running water. Pinch off the garden hose and the water stops flowing. When you release the hose, there is a big pulse of water from the hose due to the backpressure that has build up. Alternating pressure provides timed cycles of gentle pressure and pressure release that force blood into the skin. 

Are there Differences between Alternating Pressure Low Air Loss Mattresses?

There are many types of alternating pressure low air loss mattress systems. They vary greatly in how and when they should be used. There are significant differences in the quality of the mattress. These differences not only affect reliability but how effective the mattress is at prevention and healing.

To the consumer, the correct mattress to purchase is very confusing as these therapeutic support surfaces all fall under the banner of alternating pressure low air loss mattress systems. Unfortunatelyeven most medical dealers and healthcare professionals don't understand the differences.

A wound care professional or product specialist is knowledgeable about the differences between mattress systems. They can help match the mattress to the patient's needs. 


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Apollo 3-Port:
 Best for patients under 225 lbs.
Supreme Air: Best for patients 225 - 350 lbs.
Power Pro: Blower Based System, Supports 650 lbs
Power Pro Bariatric: Blower Based System, 42" & 48", Supports 750 lbs & 1000 lbs.
Tradewind ATS-RC: Pump with REMOTE CONTROL, for patient independence and control
Adapt Pro Elite - Innovation & Rapid healing through patient sensing Automation 

Tradewind 1000:
 Medium Duty with Mechanical Pump
Tradewind 3000: Medium Duty with Digital Pump
Tradewind ATS Bariatric: Medium Duty with Digital Pump, 42" & 48", Supports 550 lbs. & 800 lbs.