Death in the air

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 05 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a845
  1. Colin Chu, foundation year 1 trainee
  1. 1Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury
  1. colin.chu{at}

    Alternating pressure mattresses are being used with increasing frequency throughout the NHS. Each mattress is essentially an airbed with several compartments or cells, between which the air is cycled. Designed to minimise pressure damage to immobilised patients, they can present some unexpected challenges to doctors.

    As one manufacturer explains, the “individual cells, which gently inflate and deflate alternately, mimic natural body movement.” This can, …

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