Active or alternating air mattresses, also known as pressure relief mattresses, have been used in the medical field for decades to prevent and treat pressure ulcers. These mattresses work by redistributing pressure points on the body by inflating and deflating different sections of the mattress at regular intervals. The history of active air mattresses dates back to the 1940s, when Sir Ludwig Guttman, the founder of the Para-olympics, implemented a strict 2-hourly repositioning regime for patients at the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Injuries Hospital. This led to a significant decrease in the incidence of pressure ulcers.
In 1947, Dr. W. James Gardner, a physician and researcher, reported that since the benefit of movement for patients is due to a redistribution of pressure points, he attempted to develop a mattress that would automatically accomplish this result. He went on to invent the world's first alternating air mattress, which he reported aided skin blood flow and health while reducing nursing time.
In 2019, a team of scientists discovered that the patented VESTIMS® mattress, not only improved localized skin blood flow, but also enhanced systemic blood flow. This is a significant finding because good health depends on good blood flow. The scientists reported that following 8 weeks use of the VESTIMS® mattress, participants experienced an increase in resting blood flow by 336%, endothelial function by 197%, muscle mass by 520 grams, and better thermoregulation.
This research was the first to unequivocally demonstrate that active mattress use can improve long-term health outcomes, including endothelial function and resting blood flow.
This means that active air mattresses such as Vestims® can be used to aid the treatment of conditions related to poor circulation and pressure ulcers. The VESTIMS® mattress has been shown to improve endothelial function, which is a biomarker for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The research enables clinicians from multiple disciplines to make informed clinical decisions with regards to the treatment of health disorders.