We have reviewed the best low air loss mattresses for pressure ulcers. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed reviews.
What Are Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores) are caused when the skin is exposed to pressure for a long time, causing it and the underlying tissue to get injured.
While pressure ulcers can happen to anyone, they are most common in people who are confined to a bed or a wheelchair and therefore experience constant pressure on their skin.
Pressure ulcers are most common on the heels, elbows, hips and spine (all bony parts of the skin that are in contact with the other surface). Usually, they develop over a period of time, but sometimes they can happen in a matter of hours as well.
What Is a Low Air Loss Mattress?
It is a special air mattress, which has tiny air chambers in its surface which let the air out continuously, causing a layer of air to form between the patient and the mattress, thus reducing the risk of pressure on the skin.
The air chambers are simply inflatable cylinders made of Nylon and PVC. When they are put together, they form a continuous surface that supports your loved ones as they lie on the mattress. The individual air chambers are known as “bladders”.
The quantity and orientation of these bladders depend on the make and model of the mattress. Some mattresses may have 16 air bladders, while others may have as many as 20. Some have them oriented horizontally, and others vertically.
The mattress is connected to an air pumping system that works continuously to change the air inside the mattress, keeping it at a constant level.
The video below shows a guide including installation of your low air loss mattress.
Are Air Loss Mattresses Good for Preventing Pressure Ulcers?
When lying down on an air loss mattress, the patient gets a sensation of floating in the air. Another advantage of the low pressure on the skin is that it feels less heat and therefore less perspiration is created. Secondly, any moisture that does form gets wicked away due to the air being blown at the patient’s body.
You may also like How to Choose a Mattress for the Elderly
Are Air Loss Mattresses Good for Healing Pressure Ulcers?
Air loss mattresses are also excellent in healing pressure ulcers quickly as they help improve blood flow to the affected area. As the pressure on the wounded area gets reduced, more blood flows to it, thus healing the wound a lot quicker. Prevention of moisture also helps heal the wound quickly.
Of course, one auxiliary benefit of air loss mattresses is that by preventing and healing pressure ulcers, they help give the patient a comfortable night’s sleep. Research suggests, sleep is a very essential part of the healing process in any disease or injury1.
What Are the Things to Consider Before Buying an Air Loss Mattress?
Low air loss mattresses are generally quite expensive. One should therefore always choose the mattress carefully to ensure that the quality is in line with the price.
Always make sure that the air chambers are made from Nylon or PVC, the mattress pad is comfortable and envelops the user, instead of them just lying on top of it (like other mattresses). If your loved one is bed-ridden, a quality mattress will make them comfortable and may help them quickly recover from bedsores.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Each mattress comes with a maximum weight capacity that it can support. You should ensure that the mattress you are considering to buy should be able to comfortably support the weight of the patient.
Ensure that the mattress is able to support at least 100 pounds more than the weight of your loved one. (For examples, if their weight is 200 pounds then take a mattress that has a capacity of 300 pounds).
This is to make sure that in case your loved one gains weight, the mattress will be able to take the extra weight.
You may also like Best Mattress for Overweight Elderly
It is best to make sure that the mattress can be moved around easily so that you can install it either in your own bed or the hospital bed if the patient needs to be frequently moved to the hospital.
Due to the constant flow of air in a low air loss mattress, the air pump is working for the entire day and night. Please make sure to buy a mattress whose pump does not produce much noise.
What Are the Best Low Air Loss Mattresses for Pressure Ulcers?
Below we have reviewed in detail, the best low air loss mattresses for pressure ulcers. We hope that the reviews help you decide the best product for your unique situation.
#1 Drive Medical Med Aire Low Air Loss Mattress
The Drive Medical Med Aire mattress is a combination mattress that has both alternating pressure and low air loss which optimizes redistribution of pressure on the patient’s body, thereby managing skin maceration thus preventing and treating pressure ulcers.
It has a digital air pump that has diagnostic alarms that can be customized based on the patient’s needs. The air pump reverts to alternating pressure mode if the system is on static mode for 2 hours or more.
Another great feature is its cell-on-cell design which prevents sudden “bottoming out” and maintains air pressure for up to 24 hours in case of a power outage.
The mattress has a pillow function that maintains the top 3 air cells in static mode. It has a nice, removable 4-way stretch PU cover, which protects the mattress against fluid leakage, is vapor-permeable, and resistant to shearing. It protects the patient from friction and moisture
- Both alternating pressure and low air loss function
- Digital air pump with preset settings
- Cell-on-cell design which prevents bottoming out in case of a power outage
- 4-way PU cover for fluid and moisture protection and reduction of friction and
- Pillow function
- Some customers complained that the mattress does not work properly after a few months
- The air pump is noisy.
You may also like Best Bariatric Bed for Home Use
#2 Medical King low air loss mattress
The medical king low air loss mattress supports a maximum weight capacity of up to 350 pounds and is made of water-proof material for patient’s comfort as well as to take care of patients who are suffering from incontinence.
The mattress has 130 air cells that fill up quickly and easily and provide for perfect distribution of pressure along the patient’s body. There are preset modes for selecting the softness that the patient needs during different positions such as sitting up and lying down.
The mattress also has alternating air pressure mode, which is more useful in certain conditions. The mattress is perfectly sized to fit on most hospital beds.
The manufacturer provides patches and gluing material so that in case the mattress gets slightly damaged, you are able to repair it yourself.
- Dual-purpose – both alternating pressure and low air loss modes available
- Max weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Preset modes for selecting comfort level
- Pressure pump has hooks on the device to easily hang it by the side floorboard of the bed
- Slightly lower quality than other mattress pads on this list.
#3 Proactive Medical 80030 Protekt Aire 3000
The Proactive medical 80030 has 16 laser air holes which constantly blow air creating an air envelope that keeps the patient cool, dry, and comfortable.
It comes with a removable and water-resistant anti-microbial nylon cover which is shear resistant and quilted for patient comfort.
The air pump has a CPR valve which provides a feature of rapid deflation of the mattress when required. This makes the mattress a bit more portable than others.
The mattress also comes with a non-skid cover that helps to prevent the patient from sleeping down to the ground off the mattress.
- 16 laser air holes
- CPR valve feature provides for rapid deflation
- Removable and anti-fluid nylon cover
- Non-skid mattress cover prevents slipping of patient
- The mattress did not inflate after a few months for a few customers
You may also like Best Heated Mattress Pads for Seniors
#4 Invacare microAIR
The Invacare microAIR air pressure mattress is a 2-in-1 alternating pressure and low air loss mattress which ensures protection from bedsores for patients who are in the low to medium risk category.
The cell-in-cell design of the mattress prevents it from bottoming out in the event of an unexpected power outage. The natural slope of the mattress is designed to reduce pressure in the heel area
The mattress has soft, nylon-urethane backed cells which are can easily be cleaned and help to minimize bacterial growth. The mattress pad is vapor-permeable and comes with an oversized quilted nylon top cover which is designed to provide low friction and moisture protection environment to the patient
- 2-in-1 mattress
- Cell-in-cell design prevents it from bottoming out
- Soft, nylon-urethane based cells
- Vapour permeable and lower friction mattress cover
- Some customers complained that the mattress was too hard.
#5 Vive Replacement Alternating Pressure Pad – Inflatable Low Air Loss Mattress Topper
The Vive dual alternating pressure and low air loss mattress topper come with 130 air bubble cells and extra-long flaps, which makes it a perfect fit for any mattress.
The pad is made from durable vinyl material and it can support a maximum weight of up to 300 pounds which is enough for most users.
This pressure pad is easily connected to almost any pressure pump that has a 5mm connector, and the twin-sized overlay can be put over any mattress, be it at a home bed or a hospital bed. The mattress top is waterproof and easy to clean.
It’s 130 air cells are all heat sealed to ensure that there is no leakage of air. A patch kit is included as part of the packaging.
- 130 individual air cells for high-quality alternating air pressure and low air loss dual effect
- Vinyl material for durability
- Waterproof mattress top
- Works with any air pump with 5mm connector
- Supports up to 300 pounds weight
- Easy to install on top of any mattress
- The pad does not affix to the mattress, therefore there is a chance of it shifting position as the user shifts theirs
- Some users felt it was harder than expected.
You may also like Best Memory Foam Toppers for Seniors
#6 Medacure Alternating Pressure Air Mattress with Pump for Hospital Beds
The last entry in our lineup is different from the rest in the sense that this is not a mattress pad, but instead, it is a complete mattress system for both alternating pressure and low air loss.
The mattress consists of 17 low air loss cells, which are easy to install and replace. There are 8 ventilation cells as well, which keep the mattress cool and dry and reduces pressure on the body, resulting in lower chances for bedsores.
The top 3 air cells are kept at constant pressure to provide a pillow-like consistency to the patient’s head.
The mattress comes with a whisper-quiet pump which has 8 air pressure settings, to be used as per the patient’s comfort and requirement. It is protected by a quilted poly PU cover that is water-resistant and easy to clean and maintain.
The mattress fits comfortably on most hospital beds and can carry a maximum weight of 350 pounds. As a CPR emergency system, the mattress has a special tag that allows you to deflate it within seconds.
- Complete mattress system including air pump
- 8 mode, whisper-quiet pump
- Dual low air loss and alternating pressure systems
- Made from durable poly PU material
- Waterproof, easy to clean
- Few customers complained of air leaks in the mattress
Low air loss mattresses are the most comfortable mattresses for supporting patients with bedsores. Not only do they reduce friction but also improve blood circulation which helps to heal the pressure ulcer quickly.
The 4 mattresses covered in this article are the best available on Amazon for an average person. As usual, please refer to your doctor or medical practitioner when making a buying decision