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Chapter 2 - Product info series, Low Air Loss Mattress Systems

Please note all pricing for items listed in this or any info series are strictly based on suggested retail pricing from the manufacturer and should only be used as an estimate for comparison. Any products listed within this or any info series are strictly for comparison purposes and should not be taken as a recommendation over any other available product.


Product Info Series Part II


An in depth look at the various Low Air Loss and Alternating pressure mattress systems available in the market today – as well as their purpose in the home and clinical setting.


Table of Contents

Section 1) Will cover low air loss mattresses, the different manufacturers and different features of certain models, costs, and warranty.

Section 2) We will look at alternating pressure mattress systems and the different manufacturers. Cost, up-keep, and warranty information will also be provided.


General FAQs:

Home Care and hospital bed mattresses typically fall into two categories: pressure reducing and pressure relieving.

Pressure reducing mattress have been designed to increase the body surface area that meets the support surface. It is also to reduce interface pressure or to alter parts of the body that bear the load. This essentially reduces the duration of loading at any given anatomical site, allowing for pressure relief.

Pressure redistribution can be achieved with two primary methods – immersion/envelopment or redirection/offloading. Typically, this is achieved with high density foam, static air or low air loss mattresses.


Pressure relieving mattresses focus on relieving pressure on a localized area of skin. This is achieved by frequently alternating the pressure relief to the skin, while simultaneously supporting the patient’s weight. Types of pressure relieving mattresses are dynamic alternating pressure systems and hybrid mattress systems.

Low air loss mattresses provide airflow to help keep skin dry, as well as to relieve pressure. Both features help prevent pressure ulcers. Alternating pressure mattresses help treat pressure sores by providing two sets of air cells that expand and contract on an alternating basis to continually shift pressure. In short, low air loss mattresses primarily prevent pressure sores, alternating pressure mattresses are used for treatment of pressure ulcers.

What is a Low Air Loss and alternating pressure mattress?

• • •


Section 1 Low Air Loss Mattress Systems/Mattresses A Low Air Loss (LAL) mattress typically utilizes two methods to aid in the prevention of pressure injuries: Continuous Low Pressure (CLP) – CLP is a surface technology that reduces the contact pressure at the skin-mattress interface by increasing the surface area over which the individual is supported, aiming to immerse and envelop the user. In addition to Air that is redistributed within the mattress in response to the user’s movement to achieve lowered contact pressures. Microclimate Management – LAL surfaces use positive airflow to create a thermal-moisture gradient beneath a vapor permeable cover. This serves to regulate microclimate keeping the skin cool and dry. Low Air Loss is a preferred method for patients requiring proactive microclimate management.

Some LAL mattresses can perform 2 important functions, static air (CLP) as well as alternating pressure. In this section only LAL systems will be mentioned.

Permobil offers a broad range of available and reliable surfaces in all categories. Their LAL only models SelectAir Max, Fusion 2K are excellent options. The SelectAir Max is available from 35” to 48” wide with a price range of $5,995 - $7199. The Fusion 2k is also available in sizes from 35” to 49” wide and range in price from $6795 to $7495.


SelectAir Max

- Upright patient mode adds support while head of bed is elevated

- Auto Comfort allows for optimal pressure based on users’ weight and will distribute accordingly

- Pulsating pressure provides three cycle settings that continually readjust the system to ensure optimal comfort

- Weight capacity of 500lbs (bariatric model available)

Fusion 2k

Firm foam borders for ease of transfers and safety

Recovery 5 top zippered cover is anti-microbial, fluid resistant and breathable.

Weight capacity 300 lbs.

Hospital grade LAL designed for longevity

36-month warranty


Drive Medical offers a wide range of affordable options in both LAL and alternating pressure mattresses. The Harmony system is available from 36” to 48” wide with a MSRP range of $5,500 to $9,009. The LS9500 lateral rotation with on demand LAL is available in one size 36” wide, and retail price is $8470.


Harmony True LAL Tri-Therapy

- Digital control unit offers 4 cycle tomes and adjustable comfort weight settings

- Includes 20 Individual air cells over a 2” foam base

- 8” deep air cells are easily removed for servicing and inflate in 2 minutes

- Silver Ion stretch cover permanently kills 99.5% of germs, is fluid resistant, low shear and vapor permeable

- 1-year warranty

LS9500 Lateral Rotation with on demand LAL

- Combination therapy incorporates the functions of lateral rotation and low air loss to assist with pulmonary blood flow and mucosal drainage while providing a microclimate.

- Control unit offers 10 comfort levels, 10, 20, 30 and 60-minute adjustable turning cycles

- 10” high side air bolster provides fall prevention and facilitates safe transfers

- Unique split air cells provide customizable turn time and rotational angles for maximum comfort

- Removeable quilted nylon cover is fluid resistant, low shear and vapor permeable.

- 1-year warranty


Invacare Canada has several options in their microAIR line up, they all offer similar options and capabilities, minor differences include cycle time and frequency, alarm availability etc.

Invacare microAIR true low air loss with pulsation mattress is available in 36” wide, with an MSRP of $6680.


Wireless auto-fowler helps prevent bottoming out

Dual layered quilted nylon cover helps reduce friction and shear

Pulse and static settings for customized treatment

User weight capacity of 350 lbs.

Limited warranty of 1 year on cover/mattress, 2 year on pump


Section 2


Alternating Pressure Mattress systems

Typically alternating pressure mattress systems include a low air loss feature, this additional feature allows for the greatest range of uses for prevention and treatment. These mattress systems have bladders positioned laterally or lengthwise that slowly deflate and inflate, one at a time. This keeps the pressure points alternating throughout body. Alternating pressure therapy uses pressure redistribution to stimulate blood flow, blood nourishes the skin. The air cells on the mattress slowly inflate and deflate under the patient at a predetermined or adjustable cycle time. This allows time for blood flow to reach the skin to heal and prevent skin breakdown or bedsores. Some models offer both Alternating Pressure and Low-Air-Loss modes available in one mattress system (hybrids).


Quart Healthcare offers multiple alternating mattresses, the 2 most common are the Dynalal and Diamond 8. Both offer similar pressure sore prevention and treatment and is ideal for individuals with stages 1-4, are considered hybrids as they both offer air loss technology. Both units are equipped with a 2-hour battery backup, auto memory and lock out features. The main differences are listed below. They require the same maintenance of a monthly filter check and replacement as needed.


Dynalal 3

- Fowler pressure function

- 72 openings on air cells

- 16 comfort levels for different weight ranges

- 1000 lb. user weight capacity

- Comes in 2 sizes 36” and 48” wide

- Inflates in under 2 minutes

- Price is $6995 for 36”, $9465 for 48”

- Warranty of 2 years on manufacturer defects


Diamond 8 plus

- Static mode provides constant LAL relief

- 5 soft/firm settings

- User weight limit of 650 lbs.

- Available in 36” width only

- Inflates in under 25 minutes

- MSRP is $4295

- Warrant of 2 years on manufacturer defects


Permobil also offers multiple alternating pressure mattresses at more affordable price range. They both offer therapeutic alternating pressure, excellent warranties and come in one size only of 36” x 80”. The differences are listed below.


Fusion APT series

- 5” bladder and 3” transfer edges

- 2 in 1 alternating 10-minute cycles

- Mattress stays inflated for 24 hours in a power outage

- Low pressure alarm

- Recovery 5 quilted top cover is microbial, fluid resistant and breathable

- Up to 8 adjustable levels of comfort

- Weight capacity of 350 lbs.

- Warranty of 36 months

- MSRP $2695


e-Motion APT series

- 8” air bladders with cell-on-cell to provide therapeutic alternating pressure and allow the mattress to stay inflated in a power outage

- Equipped with micro air loss to address moisture management

- 3 in 1 alternating pressure

- Fowler boost adds extra pressure to prevent bottoming out

- Interchangeable cell design for easy cleaning

- Weight capacity of 440 lbs.

- Warranty of 36 months

- MSRP $2995


Drive Medical has 4 alternating mattress options available. The Med-Aire Plus 8, Med Aire 8, Med-Aire 5 overlay, and Med-Aire Melody. All options have alternating pressure, CPR valve for rapid deflation, adjustable weight setting, quick release tubing, low pressure alarm and one-year warranty.


Med-Aire 5 Overlay

- Control unit offers 10 minute cycles

- 5” deep cells are easily removed for cleaning

- Overlay allows for use on any bed or standard mattress for maximum portability

- Limited lifetime warranty

- Cost effective option, MSRP of only $1154


Med-Aire 8

- System includes 20 individual air cells to maximize immersion

- 8” deep cells are easily removed and replaced

- Designed for long term care setting

- 350 lb. weight capacity

- Affordable MSRP of $1797

Med-Aire 8 plus

- All the features of the Med-Aire 8

- Digital control unit offers 4 cycle times and adjustable weight settings

- Cell-on-cell designed air cells prevent bottoming out, and provide up to 24 hours of power outage protection

- Removeable 4 way stretch PU cover is fluid resistant, low shear and vapor permeable

- Advanced clinical and care giver features; auto firm, seat inflate, micro processing feedback and lock out.

- 450 lb. weight capacity

- Comparable features to other high end devices with equivalent pricing, MSRP of $2803


There is a lot to be covered with these types of mattress systems, thank you for reading!

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