Grant Application

Cecilia Zamarripa, PhD, MSN, RN, CWON, UPMC Presbyterian/Shadyside

Proposed Innovation

Pressure injuries — also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers — are a common and serious health problem. These injuries are a breakdown of the skin caused by constant pressure or friction. Early detection is crucial to prevent further deterioration and more serious complications. But detecting pressure injuries in patients with dark skin is difficult because the signs are more subtle.

The goal of this project is to explore the use of a handheld device at the bedside to measure and detect inflammatory changes days before the damage is visible on the skin’s surface.

Improvements in Action

Through this project, the subepidermal moisture (SEM) scanner will be acquired to detect early-stage pressure ulcers and deep tissue injury. The SEM uses noninvasive biosensor technology to measure moisture associated with edema in the early phase of pressure ulcer formation. Patients at risk of developing bedsores and those with darker skin tones will be a special focus of this project.

Intended Outcomes

This innovative device promises to be an important tool clinicians can use at the bedside for the benefit of patients. It will provide real-time information they can use to assess and prevent pressure injuries. The project also is expected to help define the gap in early detection of pressure injuries in patients with darker skin tones.