Skin microvascular and metabolic response to pressure relief maneuvers in people with spinal cord injury

Jessica C. Ramella-Roman, Du V N Le, Pejhman Ghassemi, Thu A. Nguyen, Alison Lichy, Suzanne Groah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Clinician's recommendations on wheelchair pressure reliefs in the context of the high prevalence of pressure ulcers that occur in people with spinal cord injury is not supported by strong experimental evidence. Some data indicates that altered tissue perfusion and oxygenation occurring under pressure loads, such as during sitting, induce various pathophysiologic changes that may lead to pressure ulcers. Pressure causes a cascade of responses, including initial tissue hypoxia, which leads to ischemia, vascular leakage, tissue acidification, compensatory angiogenesis, thrombosis, and hyperemia, all of which may lead to tissue damage. We have developed an advanced skin sensor that allows measurement of oxygenation in addition to perfusion, and can be safely used during sitting. The sensor consists of a set of fiber optics probes, spectroscopic and Laser Doppler techniques that are used to obtain parameters of interest. The overriding goal of this project is to develop the evidence base for clinical recommendations on pressure reliefs. In this paper we will illustrate the experimental apparatus as well as some preliminary results of a small clinical trial conducted at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXIV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 4 2013Feb 5 2013


OtherOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXIV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • fiber optics probe
  • oxygenation
  • perfusion
  • Pressure release maneuvers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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