Overview

Wheelchair users (over 5 Million) are prone to develop Pressure Ulcers (PU), especially Tetraplegic Spinal Cord Injury (T-SCI) as they do not dispose of the natural mechanisms for prevention. T-SCI lack of pain perception, motor control, reduced tissue viability and alterations on the ANS affecting basal tissue status and response (hyperemia).

Suffering a PU affects negatively health, needing additional surgical interventions or longer recovery times, constituting even a deadly threat due infections; derive in social exclusion due to odours and pain; and reduce the time being able to spend sitting limiting independent living, leading all to a reduction of Quality of Life.

Treating PUs cost €20 Billions per year to the EU Public Health System. Although, PU prognosis is excellent at early stages being 95% preventable, current solutions are not being effective as they rely on pressure reduction instead of tissue viability, do not consider user state, characteristics and context, and do not optimal combine current strategies.

PUMA project aims to develop a novel portable and non-invasive system to prevent and early detect the risk of PU and reverts its onset, based on the control and improvement of tissue viability. Based on Real-time PU risk assessment, a combination of dynamic repositioning systems and Functional Electrical Stimulation will be optimally integrated, preserving tissue viability as well as increasing the resistance to PU development.

As a result, this project will address the needs of over 114.000 T-SCI sufferers in Europe at high risk of developing a PU, as well as contribute to reduce the European Public Health System expenditure of €2 Billion for treating PUs in SCI people.

PUMA project will count with the collaboration of RTDs on biomechanics, smart textiles and mechatronics; and the support of prescribers, distributors, retailers, T-SCI sufferers and relatives and health care professionals defining needs and requirements as well as product validation, ensuring to fulfil the expectations of end-users and market stakeholders.