Little has been published about how to prevent pressure ulcers in severely debilitated, immobile patients in intensive care units.


To present a possible prevention strategy for postoperative cardiovascular surgery patients at high risk for development of pressure ulcers.


Staff chose to implement air fluidized therapy beds, which provide maximal immersion and envelopment as a measure for preventing pressure ulcers in patients who (1) required vasopressors for at least 24 hours and (2) required mechanical ventilation for at least 24 hours postoperatively.


Only 1 of 27 patients had a pressure ulcer develop while on the air fluidized therapy bed (February 2008 through August 2008), and that ulcer was only a stage I ulcer, compared with 40 ulcers in 25 patients before the intervention.


Patients spent a mean of 7.9 days on the mattress, and the cost of bed rental was approximately $18000, which was similar to the cost of treatment of 1 pressure ulcer in stage III or IV (about $40000) and was considered cost-effective.

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