Buttock tissue response to loading in men with SCI dataset

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Sonenblum, Sharon Eve
Sprigle, Stephen
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Objective/Background: Despite the fact that most people with a spinal cord injury who use a wheelchair for mobility are considered at-risk for pressure ulcer (PrU) development, there still exists a spectrum of risk amongst this group. Efforts to differentiate risk level would benefit from clinical tools that can measure or predict the buttocks response to loading. Therefore, the goal of this study was to identify how tissue compliance and blood flow were impacted by clinically-measurable risk factors in young men with SCI. Methods: Blood flow at the ischial tuberosity was measured using laser Doppler flowmetry while the seated buttock was unloaded, and loaded at lower (40-60 mmHg) and high (>200 mmHg) loads. Tissue compliance of the buttock was measured using the Myotonometer while subject were lifted in a Guldmann Net. Results: Across 28 participants, blood flow was significantly reduced at high loads, while no consistent, significant changes were found at lower loads. At 40-60 mmHg, blood flow decreased in participants with a pressure ulcer history and lower BMI, but stayed the same or increased in most other participants. The buttock displaced an average of 9.3 mm (2.7 mm) at 4.2 N, which represented 82% (7%) of maximum displacement. BMI was related to the amount of buttock tissue displacement while smoking status explained some of the variation in the percent of max displacement. Conclusion: Wide variability in tissue compliance and blood flow responses across a relatively homogeneous population indicate that differences in biomechanical risk may provide an explanation for the spectrum of PrU risk among persons with SCI.
RERC on Wheeled Mobility, Grant H133E080003, PI SHS
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