Low Air Loss Microclimate Management: What you need to know

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Pressure injuries have a reputation for being hard to prevent and treat. Thankfully, therapeutic support surfaces exist to help patients and caregivers alike, and to improve patient outcomes. However, knowing how and when to use them is essential for a favorable outcome.

Managing the surface microclimate of the patient’s skin is a key aspect of pressure injury (PI) treatment and prevention, ensuring that the skin surface maintains an ideal temperature and low humidity. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Low air loss microclimate management

According to a recent article in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, a patient’s microclimate is a contributing risk factor in PIs and more needs to be done to mitigate this risk. Low air loss microclimate management does exactly that.

Low air loss surfaces are designed to help regulate the microclimate of the patient’s skin by connecting it with the surrounding atmosphere via a constant stream of air that helps control and balance temperature and moisture. 

Alternating pressure mattresses

Meanwhile, alternating pressure mattresses focus on reducing skin pressure in “hotspots” by changing the contact points with the patient’s skin, thereby improving blood flow to contribute to pressure injury prevention.

Related: Visit our resource page and get everything you need to know about pressure injury prevention and treatment in one place. From an overview of pressure injury stages, to how much they’re costing hospitals and the latest in therapeutic interventions — our guide has it all.

Which therapeutic support surface should you use?

The surface you use depends on the main risk factors affecting a particular patient and/or the severity of their pressure wounds. For instance, while a patient with a single early stage wound may simply need an overlay, a patient with multiple stage 3 and 4 wounds may need either an alternating pressure, immersion or low air loss surface.

Patient characteristics also play a role: bariatric patients, for example, will need a therapeutic support surface capable of providing support for the additional weight demands. In low air loss mattresses, this means you may need a higher volume of airflow to combat the patient’s increased perspiration. On the other hand, your alternating pressure mattresses will need to be able to expand and contract its cells and shift pressure while under the increased weight. 

Thankfully, hybrid mattresses do exist and can offer multiple therapies in one. This gives caregivers greater flexibility, as one unit can be adapted for multiple patients or therapies over time. 

As a 5-in-1 solution, Airisana™ can be a godsend for caregivers hoping to combine cutting-edge medical technology and multiple therapies. Instead of choosing between them, Airisana™ combines alternating pressure and low air loss therapies in one therapeutic support surface. This means it’s able to deliver both alternating pressure inflation and low air loss microclimate management, depending on patient needs. It also provides pressure redistribution, immersion/envelopment and lateral rotation therapies — ensuring that however you need pressure relief, you’ll find Airisana™. 

Learn more about how this therapeutic support surface is changing the face of pressure injury treatment and prevention on the Airisana product page.


Pressure Injuries 2020

Michelle Daniels
Michelle Daniels is the Managing Director, TPF & TSS Brands for Encompass Group. She can be reached at

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