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Anne-Kathrin Brill – update July 2014

My time in London is slowly drawing to a close. It has been very enjoyable and informative, and I am busy finishing my research.

Over the last couple of months we have conducted a study focusing on improving mask fitting competency among healthcare professionals using a sensor that gives objective feedback on the areas of high pressure.

Pressure applied by the mask on the bridge of the nose was measured with the system and displayed in different colours on a computer screen. This instant, independent feedback enabled the healthcare professional to adjust the mask and improve the fit. With the help of the system, they were able to achieve a more comfortable mask fit with lower pressure on the bridge of the patient’s nose.

I am currently also measuring the pressure put on facial skin by non-invasive ventilation (NIV) masks in volunteers and patients comparing different mask and ventilator settings, body positions and the impact of different protective dressings. The results of this study will hopefully help to improve mask design and mask fitting strategies. 

I helped to update guidelines on the prevention and management of facial pressure ulcers in NIV, and these were were implemented in the hospital’s daily routine in February 2014. A first analysis of the rates of NIV-related facial pressure ulcers shows a significant reduction since this was put into place, compared to the years before.