Cytokine IL1 alpha and lactate as markers for tissue damage in spineboard immobilisation. A prospective, randomised open-label crossover trial

Baukje Hemmes*, Luuk A. de Wert, Peter R. G. Brink, Cees W. J. Oomens, Dan L. Bader, Martijn Poeze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


Background Spinal immobilisation using a rigid long spineboard is a well-established procedure in trauma care. During immobilisation, the body is exposed to high tissue-interface pressures. This may lead to a localised inflammatory response of the skin, which may be used to monitor the body's response to different types of immobilisation device.

Aim: In this study we compared the standard rigid spineboard with a new soft-layered spineboard regarding tissue-interface pressures, skin redness as an indicator of reactive hyperaemia and cutaneous al a and lactate release.

Methods: Twelve healthy male participants were asked to lie supine on both a rigid and a soft-layered spine board, loading the sacrum for one hour, followed by One hour in unloaded position, Tissue-interface pressures on the buttocks during loading were measured continuously using a pressure mapping mat. Cutaneous IL1 alpha and lactate concentrations were assessed using Sebutapes, during 20-min periods. After each 20-min period, a photo of the buttocks was taken, which was later assessed for redness by two observers.

Results: Significant differences in tissue-interface pressure and reactive hyperaemia were found between the two types of spineboard. Release of IL1 alpha and lactate were found to increase with prolonged exposure to pressure, and to decrease in the unloaded prone position. A significant relationship was found between tissue-interface pressure and reactive hyperaemia, but not with IL1 alpha nor lactate release. Time course of IL1 alpha and lactate release was similar for both types of spineboard.

Conclusions: ILla and lactate both have a strong relationship with pressure exposure time, but not with pressure magnitude. Furthermore, IL1 alpha was measured even in the absence of visible redness of the skin. The study offers the potention of biomarkers, reflecting inflammation and/or tissue metabolism, for use in assessing the effects of prolonged spineboard support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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