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Determination of Positional Skin-Surface Pressures in Premature Infants

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Purpose: To describe the skin-surface pressure distributions and points of maximal pressure that are generated by healthy premature infants in the supine, prone, and right side–lying positions.

Design: A descriptive, repeated-measures design.

Sample: Four medically stable premature infants of 34 weeks postconceptional age. The mean weight was 2,180 gm, and the mean age was 24.5 days.

Results: Similar regions of increased skin-surface pressures were identified for the four infants. Within areas of peak pressure, some sensor cells reached 28–32 millimeters of mercury, which is considered to be the critical compressive pressure for obstruction of nutritive flow to the underlying body tissues. These descriptive results may be a starting point for development of research studies to determine positioning strategies to optimize the skin integrity of premature infants while minimizing unnecessary handling.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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