Why The PressureStat Is A Diagnostic Educator
- Volume 16 - Issue 1 - January 2003
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Proper diagnosis and treatment of foot ulcerations is essential to preventing lower extremity amputations. With this in mind, Footlogic offers its PressureStat device. An alternative to the traditional optical pedobarograph, the PressureStat gives you a quick and effective way to identify plantar pressure abnormalities associated with diabetes. A 1999 study in Diabetic Medicine showed that the PressureStat performed well in correctly identifying all high pressure areas in patients versus other pressure data techniques in assessing and preventing diabetic foot ulcers.1
Andrew Boulton, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, has been involved with a few of the studies conducted on the PressureStat. He notes that it compares well versus the gold standard of pressure tracking via an optical pedobarograph.
Why The PressureStat Is Valuable In Patient Education
Pressure-sensitive chemicals in the multi-layered film of the device produce “an exact replica of a patient’s footprint,” according to Footlogic. Darkened areas reflect points of high pressure in the patient’s foot. By having the patient walk across the PressureStat in normal stride, you can identify the plantar pressure points.
Lawrence K. Lavery, DPM, says the PressureStat is a “great resource” for patient education. Dr. Lavery, an Associate Professor within the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Medical Center, notes that the most meaningful information to the patients is information that specifically pertains to their extremities. “Having (patients) see an image of their level of pathology is very stimulating for them,” adds Dr. Lavery.
Dr. Lavery notes that he uses this device in concert with other testing tools when educating high-risk diabetic patients about neuropathy. For example, he says he’ll use a VPT testing instrument on both the patient and the patient’s spouse to show the differences in vibration perception threshold. This allows patients to “feel” the lower extremity sensory loss whereas the PressureStat device enables patients to “see” what is happening on the sole of the foot.
“When they feel the neuropathy and see the abnormal pressures, sometimes you see the light go on,” explains Dr. Lavery.
He says this understanding helps patients become more informed and involved in treating their disease. Dr. Boulton concurs, noting that using the PressureStat enables patients to “immediately identify” risk areas as the device quickly indicates areas of high pressure. Dr. Boulton says the device is “popular with patients” and calls it a “useful educational aid.”
Emphasizing Preventive Medicine
The device’s ability to identify pressure points in the foot in relation to a patient’s foot type can help predict subsequent compensation that may occur. By identifying these areas, you can provide more targeted treatment. As Footlogic points out, diabetes patients may have an abnormally high arch or cavus foot type, which is associated with high pressure on the forefoot. This increased forefoot pressure may increase the risk of potential complications, according to the company.
The lack of quantitative score is the only drawback of the PressureStat, according to Dr. Boulton, who notes that the device provides a semi-quantitative measure.
Assessing Other Key Advantages
The PressureStat is more cost-effective compared to more sophisticated computerized pressure systems, according to Dr. Lavery. He says the “affordable” device is also simpler to use in comparison to other systems that offer a “level of sophistication that most clinics do not need.” Dr. Boulton agrees, noting that the device does not require a special gait lab and can be used by clinicians with minimal training.
When it comes to reliability, ease of use and patient satisfaction, Dr. Lavery says the PressureStat is a “valuable educational tool that helps you and pedorthists make decisions about protective insoles and shoes.”
1. Van Schie CHM, Abbott CA, Viliekyte L, Shaw JE, Hollis S, Boulton AJM. A comparative study of the Podotrack, a simple semiquantitative plantar pressure measuring device, and the optical pedobarograph in the assessment of pressures under the diabetic foot. Diabetic Medicine; 1999; 16; 154-159.