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Pressure Injury Prevention in AE and PFC

  • identifier


  • Recruitment Status

    Terminated (Unable to continue to conduct study procedures due to pandemic)

  • First Posted

    April 23, 2019

  • Last update posted

    November 4, 2020

Study Description

Brief summary:

This study evaluates the effect of a multilayer skin dressing (Mepilex) placed on the sacrum or a fluid filled pad (LiquiCell) on risk factors for pressure injuries under conditions consistent with military long-distance transport or prolonged field care. Participants will be assigned to one of six groups - air transport, air transport on a spinal immobilization surface with or without Mepilex or on a field stretcher with or without LiquiCell.

  • Condition or Disease:Pressure Injury
    Military Activity
  • Intervention/Treatment: Device: Mepilex
    Device: LiquiCell
  • Phase: N/A

Detailed Description

Combat casualties undergoing long distance aeromedical evacuation (AE), particularly casualties who are immobilized because of possible spine injuries, and casualties who required prolonged field care are at increased risk for pressure injuries. The risk factors pressure and shear are potentially modifiable via solutions appropriate for these austere conditions. Two interventions (Mepilex and LiquiCell) will be evaluated under conditions simulating military medical transport on a standard stretcher or with spinal immobilization in a vacuum spine board (VSB) or on a military stretcher used under field conditions. Mepilex is a multi-layer dressing that can be placed on the skin (sacrum/buttocks) and LiquiCell is a pad filled with pockets of fluid that is placed under the back and buttocks. The effect of these interventions compared to not using them will be studied under the three conditions with or without the intervention (Mepilex or LiquiCell) using measures obtained on the lower back/sacrum including skin interface pressure, oxygen, moisture, and temperature and a cytokine indicating possible tissue damage.

Study Design

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Actual Enrollment: 54 participants
  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
  • Intervention Model Description: Stratified randomized control trial with subjects assigned to either the simulated aeromedical evacuation (standard mattress or vacuum spine board) or Prolonged Field Care arms with or without the intervention. Stratification will be based on body fat percentage. Study does not involve FDA-regulated drug.
  • Masking: None (Open Label) ()
  • Primary Purpose: Other
  • Official Title: Prevention of Pressure Injuries During Aeromedical Evacuation or Prolonged Field Care
  • Actual Study Start Date: July 2019
  • Actual Primary Completion Date: September 2020
  • Actual Study Completion Date: September 2020

Arms and interventions

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Group 1: Mepilex on Litter + AE Mattress + 30 degree backrest
Intervention: Mepilex
Device: Mepilex
Mepilex Border Sacrum dressing is a multi-layered soft silicone dressing that is a recommended strategy to augment standard nursing interventions (i.e., repositioning, offloading) to prevent pressure injuries. The dressing will be placed on the sacrum.
Experimental: Group 3: Mepilex on VSB on AE mattress
Intervention: Mepilex
Device: Mepilex
Mepilex Border Sacrum dressing is a multi-layered soft silicone dressing that is a recommended strategy to augment standard nursing interventions (i.e., repositioning, offloading) to prevent pressure injuries. The dressing will be placed on the sacrum.
Experimental: Group 5 Prolonged Field Care (PFC) - LiquiCell on Talon litter
Intervention: LiquiCell mat
Device: LiquiCell
LiquiCell is a thin layer of low-viscosity fluid contained in a series of bursa-like pouches. Baffles within each pouch channel the liquid to disperse pressure and the volume of liquid in the pouch is so small that there is no pressure-build up. LiquiCell is available commercially as a 36 X 18-inch mattress overlay (LiquiCell Shear Reducing Mattress Overlay) with a soft pliable top and a non-slip bottom. The overlay is positioned from the shoulders to below the hips to minimize shear.

Outcome Measures

  • Primary Outcome Measures: 1. Change in Interleukin-1/Total Protein (skin) [ Time Frame: Baseline through study completion - approximately 120 minutes ]
    Skin cytokine (IL-1) and total protein will be obtained using a small strip of specialized tape placed on the sacrum/buttocks. After 1-minute application the tape is removed and analyzed for quantity of interleukin-1 (indicator of skin irritation)
  • 2. Change in Transcutaneous tissue oxygen (TcPO2) [ Time Frame: Measured continuously during the baseline (sidelying), supine (120 minutes) and post-sidelying (15 minutes) periods ]
    Tissue oxygen is measured continuously on the sacrum using a noninvasive sensor and on the midsternum (midchest) as a control
  • 3. Change in Skin Moisture (epidermal and subepidermal) [ Time Frame: Baseline (before lying down) and after 120 minutes supine ]
    Two components of skin moisture will be measured on the sacrum using the Delfin MoistureMeter. The epidermal moisture, which reflects perspiration and subepidermal moisture , which reflects water content of the tissues. The values range from 1-80, with higher numbers reflecting increased moisture.
  • 4. Change in Skin Temperature [ Time Frame: Measured continuously during the baseline (sidelying), supine (120 minutes) and post-sidelying (15 minutes) periods ]
    Skin temperature will be measured continuously on the sacrum using a laser doppler probe.
  • 5. Change in Skin interface pressure [ Time Frame: Continuously during the supine phase of the study (120 minutes) ]
    The pressure between the support surface and the skin will be measured continuously during the supine position using the X Sensor system. This system measures force/unit area (e.g., pressure). The peak and average pressure on the sacrum/buttocks will be measured.
  • Secondary Outcome Measures: 1. Change in Pressure-Discomfort (Category Partitioning Scale-50) [ Time Frame: The score will be obtained at baseline and every 30 minutes in the supine position (total 5 measurements). ]
    This scale asks the participant to describe in verbal terms the pressure intensity or discomfort associated with the stimulus (i.e., sacral/buttocks pressure or discomfort). The participant can then fine tune their assessment using a numeric score. The final score is an analog. The score ranges from 0-52, with higher scores indicating higher pressure or more severe discomfort. The investigator will ask the participant to limit their evaluation to the pressure/discomfort sensed on the sacrum/buttocks, but the investigator will also ask the participants to identify on their body where they are experiencing the most pressure/discomfort.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Ages Eligible for Study: 18 to 55 Years (Adult)
  • Sexes Eligible for Study: All
  • Accepts Healthy Volunteers: Yes


Inclusion Criteria:

- Men and women

- Age 18 to 55

- Meet the physical standards for military personnel

- Weigh less than 250 pounds

- Be able to remain in the study position for the duration of the study.

Exclusion Criteria

- Previous injuries to sacrum/buttocks with scarring

- History of pressure injuries

- Cardiovascular disease

- Neurological disease that would affect vascular response

- Diabetes

- History of malignancy

- Current skin condition (e.g., eczema or psoriasis)

- Current neck/back pain or history of chronic neck/back pain

- Known vertebral/spinal cord disease/injury (scoliosis, kyphosis, or lordosis)

- Self-reported pregnancy

- Concern about ability to remain in the vacuum spine board for 120 minutes

Contacts and Locations



United States, Washington
University of Washington School of Nursing

Sponsors and Collaborators

University of Washington


Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN University of Washington

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