BACKGROUND: Pressure redistribution performance of x-ray table mattresses can influence the development of pressure ulcers in at-risk populations. Interface pressure analysis, with human participants, is a common method to assess mattresses. This approach has limitations that relate to the lack of standardisation between and within humans.
AIM: This study aimed to develop and validate an anthropomorphic phantom-based method to assess x-ray table mattress interface pressures as an index of mattress performance.
METHODS: A three dimensional phantom simulating an adult's head, pelvis, and heels was printed from x-ray computed tomography image data and attached to a metal frame 175 cm in length. Dry sand was added to the phantom head, pelvis, and heels to represent a range of human weights. Pressure distribution was assessed using XSensor. Phantom validation was achieved by comparing phantom mattress interface pressure characteristics, for five human equivalent weights, against 27 sets of human mattress interface pressure data.
RESULTS: Using the correlation coefficient R, phantom and human pressure data showed good correlation for the five phantom weights (R values: head = 0.993, pelvis = 0.997, and heels = 0.996).
CONCLUSION: A novel method to test x-ray mattresses for interface pressure was developed and validated. The method could have utility in the testing of x-ray mattresses that are in routine use and for new mattress development. Phantom interface pressure data could be provided by manufacturers to help inform procurement decisions when matching mattress characteristics to medical imaging demands and the underlying patient populations.
Keywords: Pressure ulcer X-ray interface pressure mattress phantom