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New Scanner Able to Detect Bed Sores Before They Are Even Visible

December 5, 2016

Bed sores are a very common and painful condition affecting patients confined to a bed. Bed sores are often associated with older people but can also affect patients with spinal injuries, MS or patients on surgical wards for an extended period.

“The problem is that we can’t see any pressure points until they reach the skin,” says Prof Zena Moore, head of the school of nursing at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI). The current treatment for bed sores, otherwise known as pressure ulcers, is to turn the patient in bed every two to three hours. Specialized mattresses and cushions which better distribute the body mass are also used for some patients.

A new tool is being piloted in Naas General Hospital in Ireland which offers new hope for early detection and prevention of bed sores. This hand-held scanner can detect the sub-epidermal moisture in the skin which is an early sign of inflammation.

“They are extremely expensive but prevention is cheaper than treatment in the long term – and this isn’t even including the reduction of pain and discomfort to the patient with early detection,” says Moore.