OBJECTIVE: The present study investigated whether vibration therapy using a vibrator could facilitate the healing of Stage I pressure ulcers (PrUs) in older adults.
METHODS: The study had a nonrandomized, blinded, controlled design. The subjects were hospital patients in long-term-care facilities with Stage I PrUs. In the experimental group, a vibrator (RelaWave; Matsuda Micronics Corp, Chiba, Japan) was used to apply vibration (frequency: 47 Hz; time: 10 seconds; amplitude modulation cycle: 15 seconds) for 15 minutes 3 times a day for up to 7 days, until Stage I PrUs healed. Apart from the vibration therapy, the experimental and control groups received the same care, which was provided according to PrU care guidelines. The number of healed ulcers was compared between 2 groups.
RESULTS: The experimental group consisted of 16 patients with 20 Stage I PrUs; the control group consisted of 15 patients with 21 Stage I PrUs. In the experimental group, 8 (40.0%) PrUs healed; in the control group, 2 (9.5%) PrUs healed. The number of healed ulcers was significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group (P = .033). The healing rate during the study period was significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group (P = .018, logrank test). The hazard ratio adjusted for baseline risk factors was 0.031 (95% confidence intervals: 0.002-0.594, P = .021). The mean relative changes per day in wound area and intensity of redness were significantly greater in the experimental group than in the control group (P = .007, and P = .023, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Based on these results, the use of the vibrator may facilitate the healing of Stage I PrUs.