J Tissue Viability. 2022 Nov 7:S0965-206X(22)00116-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jtv.2022.11.001. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Subepidermal moisture (SEM) scanning is a novel technology that measures changes in localised oedema. Accumulation of subepidermal oedema is associated with early tissue damage that may lead to a pressure injury.
AIM: The primary study objective was to observe the variations in sacral subepidermal oedema levels over a continuous period of 60-degree head of bed elevation positioning.
METHODS: Healthy adult participants were recruited in this prospective observational study. Participants were positioned at 60-degree head of bed elevation for 120 min and sacral SEM measurements were collected at baseline and in 20 min increments.
RESULTS: A total of 20 participants with a mean age of 39.3 years (SD = 14.7) were recruited. The mean SEM delta value increased 6.3% from 0.46 SEM delta at baseline to 0.49 SEM delta after 120 min, however these differences are not statistically significant (p = .21). There were also no significant findings between SEM delta variations and demographic factors.
CONCLUSION: In a sample of healthy individuals, 120 min of continuous loading with a 60-degree head of bed elevation did not lead to a significant change in sacral subepidermal oedema levels. Further research on the response of healthy adult tissue under external forces associated with different angles of head of bed positioning may further contribute to our understanding pressure injury prevention.