Spinal immobilization is of utmost importance when caring for major trauma victims. Because of the potential for spinal cord injury, trauma victims must be secured to a rigid backboard. Patients are held in position by placing blocks on either side of their head, straps across their forehead, chest, and legs. The goal of using a hard backboard is to reduce the chances of damaging the victim’s neurological functions because of movement of unstable or injured vertebrae. These backboards serve their function of patient immobilization but present another problem for the patient. They have been associated with a skin breakdown condition called decubitus ulcers (bed sores). Bed sores are areas of damaged skin and tissue that develop when sustained pressure causes a restriction of blood circulation to vulnerable parts of the body. Without adequate blood flow, the affected tissue dies. Some patients may be secured to these boards for up to four hours waiting to undergo x-rays. This is more than enough time for ulcers to reach Stage IV which is the deepest and most destructive ulcer. The incidence of pressure ulcers in newly admitted patients has been reported as high as 59% and 50% have been reported at the sacral region [1, 2]. In experimental studies performed on dogs it has been shown that a constant pressure of only 60mmHg for one hour is enough to cause irreversible tissue damage [3]. When the patients are on the backboards it has been shown that there is often a high pressure spike at the sacral prominence where average maximum interface pressure spike of 260mmHg have been noted. When a thin but very heavy gel pad was added to the backboard, the sacral interface pressure was reduced to an average maximum pressure of 188 mmHg [4]. The objective of this project is to develop a backboard with a light pressure dispersion liner to reduce interface pressures on pressure sensitive areas in the supine position.

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