Critical thresholds for pressure ulcer formation in a porcine model

Jaydeep Y. Kokate, Keith J. Leland, Ephraim M Sparrow, Paul A Iaizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The objective of the present study was to define critical thresholds of applied pressure, applied temperature and duration of application necessary for the formation of pressure ulcers or cutaneous burns. A porcine wound model previously developed by the authors was used. Briefly, twelve metal discs (57 mm diameter) were simultaneously applied on the dorsal aspect of each swine while modulating applied pressure, temperature and duration of application at each site. In all, 70 different experiments were conducted using different magnitudes of the aforementioned parameters. Histological assessment provided the basis for the determination of damage at different tissue levels. The severity of resultant tissue injuries correlated well with increases in applied temperature, applied pressure and/or duration of application. Three-dimensional plots of the pressure, temperature and duration data were used to visualize the critical thresholds for damage within each tissue layer. An algebraic fit to the experimental data provided equations which may be used to predict wound formation for any combination of these parameters. With the knowledge that porcine models have historically correlated well with humans due to physiological similarities1,2 and careful consideration of any confounding variables encountered in clinical practice (poor nutrition, impaired circulation, etc.), these critical thresholds and the resultant models should have widespread utility for healthcare providers (e.g., in the formulation of patient turning schedules), engineers concerned with new product design and development (e.g., for support surfaces that could reduce the incidence of pressure ulcer formation) and basic scientists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997


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