Body pressure has been recognized as the most important extrinsic factor involved in the development of pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcer is a localized injury of the skin and/or underlying tissue resulting from an external mechanical load by our body, applied to soft biological tissues. The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) classified pressure ulcers into four categories namely stage I (non-blanchable erythema), stage II (abrasion or a blister), stage III (uperficial ulcer) and stage IV (deep ulcer). Stage IV is considered as the most crucial pressure ulcer that can create emergency medical conditions. Pressure ulcers can be prevented by a number of support surface devices that include cushions, mattresses, specialty beds and overlays. The pressure relief devices market is experiencing significant growth owing to rising number of patients diagnosed with pressure ulcers coupled with growing geriatric population. In addition, availability of technologically advanced pressure relief devices such as dynamic air therapy mattresses also accentuates the growth of this market. However, technical complexity, requirement of skilled personnel and high cost of the devices are some of the factors restricting the demand of pressure relief devices to some extent.
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Low-tech devices or static support devices are preferably used to reduce the pressure on the skin and tissue experienced by patients due to their body weight. Factors such as prevention of ulcer, cost effectiveness and easy operability are fueling the growth of the low-tech devices segment. Thus, owing to the above mentioned factors low-tech devices segment dominated the global pressure relief devices market in 2013. The low-tech devices segment has been sub-segmented into foam based mattresses, gel filled mattresses, air filled mattresses, and others. Foam based mattresses are used to reduce the development of pressure ulcers. In addition, cost effectiveness, easy availability, low technical complexity and higher comfort are some of the prominent factors that propel the uptake of these mattresses.
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Geographically, North America accounted for the largest market share in the global pressure relief devices market in 2013 and is expected to grow at a steady growth rate during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. The dominance of this region was mainly due to increasing prevalence of pressure ulcers and rising demand for various advanced mattresses. For instance, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) stated that around 2.5 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with pressure ulcers every year. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. Increasing geriatric population in few Asian countries and rising disposable income are the major factors expected to drive the market in Asia-Pacific.
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Moreover, owing to the presence of vast opportunities for pressure ulcer products companies operating in this market have adopted distribution and partnership strategies to gain market share. For instance, in September 2011, Talley Group Limited collaborated with an India-based medical bed frame manufacturer, Janak Healthcare Private Ltd. Major market players operating in this market include ArjoHuntleigh, AB (Innova Extra mattress), Covidien plc (Wings quilted premium under pads), Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NP50 Prevention Surface), Invacare Corporation (Invacare Softform Excel Mattress), Stryker Corporation (PositionPRO), Talley Group Limited (QUATTRO PLUS) and Paramount Bed Holdings Co., Ltd. (Accumax mattress).
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