Determination of positional skin-surface pressures in premature infants

Neonatal Netw. Jan-Feb 2004;23(1):25-30. doi: 10.1891/0730-0832.23.1.25.


Purpose: To describe the skin-surface pressure distributions and points of maximal pressure that are generated by healthy premature infants in the supine, prone, and right side-lying positions.

Design: A descriptive, repeated-measures design.

Sample: Four medically stable premature infants of 34 weeks postconceptional age. The mean weight was 2,180 gm, and the mean age was 24.5 days.

Results: Similar regions of increased skin-surface pressures were identified for the four infants. Within areas of peak pressure, some sensor cells reached 28-32 millimeters of mercury, which is considered to be the critical compressive pressure for obstruction of nutritive flow to the underlying body tissues. These descriptive results may be a starting point for development of research studies to determine positioning strategies to optimize the skin integrity of premature infants while minimizing unnecessary handling.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Pressure Ulcer / nursing
  • Pressure Ulcer / physiopathology*
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*