August 2011

Study supports Heelift to lower risk of pressure ulcers after hip fracture

The Heelift Suspension Boot from Evanston, IL-based DM Systems can significantly reduce the risk of pressure ulcers in patients recovering from hip fracture, according to a study from Northern Ireland published in the July issue of the Journal of Wound Care.

The Heelift Suspension boot cradles and cushions the lower leg in foam while elevating the heel, reducing the risk of irritation or pressure points.

Investigators from the University of Ulster randomized 120 hip fracture patients to be fitted with the suspension boots on both lower limbs, and 119 patients to a control group. All patients had pressure-redistribut­ing support surfaces,  which included cut foam mattresses, mattress overlays or alternating mattresses based on risk assessments. Patients were followed until discharge, transfer, or death.

Just 7% of patients in the intervention group developed pressure ulcers, none of which occurred on ankles, feet or heels. By comparison, 26% of patients in the control group developed pressure ulcers, which occurred in the ankles, feet, or heels in all but two patients. The difference was so dramatic that the study was discontinued early for ethical reasons.

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