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Novel Scanner Assesses Risk of Pressure Ulcers

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Jan 2019
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Image: A novel scanner detects detect localized tissue edema and bedsores (Photo courtesy of Bruin Biometrics).
Image: A novel scanner detects detect localized tissue edema and bedsores (Photo courtesy of Bruin Biometrics).
An innovative wireless handheld device detects subepidermal moisture (SEM), identifying specific areas at increased risk for developing pressure damage.

The Bruin Biometrics (BBI; Los Angeles, CA, USA) SEM Scanner is designed to detect localized tissue edema and pressure induced tissue damage by measuring surface capacitance, an electrophysical marker indicative of increased fluid content within the skin and underlying tissues and a sign of impending inflammation and pressure ulcer formation, especially at the heels and sacrum. The early detection capability can lead to accurate targeted interventions, reduced ulceration severity, and early recovery, as well as decreased hospital days.

Advantages of the point of care (POC) device include objective, evidence-based measurements; non-invasive, rapid results; clear risk assessment documentation; standardized patient assessment; and wireless syncing to a databank for rapid analytics and reporting to healthcare providers. In clinical studies, the SEM scanner has been shown to identify pressure-induced tissue damage up to 10 days before it becomes visible on the skin's surface, and can also help with the more difficult diagnosis of pressure ulcers in patients with a darker skin tone.

“Total prevention of avoidable pressure injuries is mathematically impossible under the current standard of care; prevention success demands objective, early, anatomically specific data,” said Martin Burns, CEO of BBI. “For the first time, clinicians will have access to anatomically specific risk assessment data that can be gathered from increased risk patients in all care settings. We are optimistic of the impact these data will have on prevention strategies. Our singular objective is to reduce pressure injury incidence by helping clinicians make prevention real.”

“Anatomically specific risk information gives nurses valuable advance notice to institute additional preventive treatment tailored to a patient's unique needs,” said Ruth Bryant, PhD, president-elect of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC; Mt Royal, NJ, USA). “The anatomically specific information, combined with tailored preventive actions may ultimately translate into fewer pressure sores, decreased costs, increased quality of patient care, increased patient satisfaction and decreased risk for adverse events due to pressure ulcers such as in-hospital mortality, prolonged length of stay, discharge to an extended care facility rather than to the home, and infection.”

Bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers, are lesions caused by factors such as unrelieved pressure; friction; humidity; shearing forces; temperature; age; continence and medication. They can occur in any part of the body, especially over bony or cartilaginous areas such as sacrum, elbows, knees, and ankles. Bedsores are often fatal, even under the auspices of medical care, and are one of the leading iatrogenic causes of death reported in developed countries, second only to adverse drug reactions. The primary treatment is to remove the pressure by turning the patient regularly, often as much as every two hours.

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