Locked-in Syndrome

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Since I am immobile, I am prone to getting bedsores. Very simply, pressure ulcers (sometimes refered  to as "bedsores" )  are  caused  by  pressure. They  develop  when  our  body's  soft  tissue is
compressed, over time, between a bony part of our body (such as our ankles, the base of our spine, buttocks, elbows, heels, hips, shoulder blades, etc.), and an external surface (such as a mattress or the seat of our chair, sheets or clothing rubbing against our skin, moisture from perspiration or our own bodily fluids, pressure from our own weight, etc). With prolonged pressure to a certain area, the blood supply to our cells (interchanging our blood's oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and tissue cells) is disrupted. This prolonged lack of blood supply and oxygen to our tissues may result in a pressure ulcer.

People at high risk for the development of pressure ulcers are those people who are unable to move freely. Spinal cord injury patients, stroke victims, and severe or long-lasting injuries may present certain challenges. Factors that can contribute to the development of pressure ulcers include, anaemia (a deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood), poor circulation, diabetes, edema (an accumulation of fluid in tissue spaces), incontinence, malnutrition, mental impairment, and obesity, to name a few.

Because of this I was placed from day one on a "Pressure Relieving Mattress", which consists of a mattress overlay divided into sections that are inflated alternatively by a small air compressor in a control box. This prevents sores and can actually heal existing sores although I never had a sore. I have a Viacilin mattress made by Arjo (although there are several manufacturers of similar products). By constantly changing the place where the body rests, sores are prevented.

These sores can be cured but sometimes surgery is required and they are so dangerous that they can even lead to death, so it is advisable to prevent them altogether.

In late 2011 the materass was changed - not because it stopped working but it was obsolete and parts were becoming a problem. To replace it, I now have a Auto Logic from ArjoHuntleigh - it works just like my old one except it is more modern and has a 6 hour battery backup in case of a blackout.

So far I talked about the materass only as I had a common bed. About the same time I got a 4-section, electrically adjustable bed. The bed is an Enterprise 5000 also from ArjoHuntleigh and consists of 4 sections - buttocks, torso, upper legs and lower legs - and the last 3 are electrically adjustable with a pendant remote control. The whole bed is also (electrically) adjustable in height. It also has a backup battery.

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