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Choosing the Best Alternating Pressure Mattress

by Juan Lopez July 01, 2019 0 Comments

Choosing the Best Alternating Pressure Mattress Bed sores can lead to serious medical complications, and the best defense is prevention with a quality alternating pressure mattress. If you are bedridden or suffer from limited mobility, let us help you find the best pressure mattress for your needs. In this post, you’ll get an in-depth look at how these sleeping aids work, as well as all the crucial factors, including type, material, pressure range, risk level, and recommendations suited to you.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Pressure Mattress

Speak with your care provider and make sure to take in consideration the factors below when deciding on the right alternating pressure mattress for you or your loved one.


Non-Powered Pressure Reduction Mattress

While other pressure mattresses require a power source to keep inflated, our memory foam mattress topper offers ‘dry flotation’ with gel-infused open cell memory foam. It can be placed on top of an existing mattress for mild protection against pressure sores or as a preventative treatment. Place it under standard sized bed sheets for maximum patient immersion.

There are 5 different sizes of mattress topper available including twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king. Each is 3 inches thick.

Alternating Pressure Pad

The purpose of an alternating pressure pad is to fluctuate pressure points across the sleeping surface, with air cells that constantly deflate and inflate. This helps promote circulation and also combat bedsores for patients at a higher risk. It is designed to lay on the top of an existing mattress and is compatible with any type of bed.

We offer a 5” and 8” mattress which each use a pump that can be adjusted for firmness, and is small enough to fit on a night stand. The 5” version features 130 air cells that fit easily under sheets and can support up to 300 lbs. The 8” mattress has 16 cells that span the entire width and can support up to 320 lbs.

Low Air Loss Mattress

Essential for patients at a high risk of pressure sores, a low air loss mattress floats the patient on air-filled cells. They pump between 100 and 150 liters of air per minute to regulate skin temperature, preserve moisture levels, while not drying out therapeutic dressings.

Our 8” alternating pressure mattress is designed to replace a traditional mattress, attaching to a hospital bed frame with secure straps. It includes 19 thick air chambers which are built for long-term use.


Gel-Infused Open Cell Memory Foam

This material used in our memory foam mattress topper includes an open-celled design which promotes airflow and allows heat to dissipate easier. Evenly-spaced ventilation holes and added cooling gel help with temperature regulation. The foam is latex-free, soft and springy, allowing it to contour to the body and relieve pressure points.

Latex-Free Vinyl

The latex-free vinyl used in our inflatable pressure pads and mattresses was chosen for its durability, resistance to punctures and moisture, plus ease of care. Flexible and soft when inflated, it is perfectly comfortable for a night’s rest and won’t irritate common allergies..

Weight Capacity

Be sure that the pad or mattress you choose can accommodate the patient that will be resting in it. Our alternating pressure pad has a weight capacity of 300 lbs, while the 5” pressure pad can hold slightly more, at 320 lbs. For maximum weight capacity, the 8” alternating pressure mattress can accommodate 400 lbs and our memory foam mattress topper is made for anyone who wants to use it..

Pump Features

Both of our alternating pressure pads come with a pump that allows you to adjust firmness at the turn of a dial. It fits comfortably on a nightstand, with quiet operation that won’t disturb your sleep.

The 8” alternating pressure mattress allows even more customization, offering different modes and indicators:

  • Adjustable firmness
  • Sitting mode customizes the pressure to make sitting upright comfortable while still letting you take advantage of alternating pressure
  • Static mode keeps cells inflated at their current pressure, disabling alternating air current
  • Low and high pressure indicators

Mattress Cover

Our 8” alternating pressure mattress comes with a cover designed to regulate body heat during the night. It is waterproof and durable, so you can count on it lasting as long as you need it. It can be removed and washed regularly to maintain freshness.

Patient Risk Level

Choosing your pressure mattress greatly depends on patient’s level of mobility plus their risk of developing pressure sores. Before deciding, it’s always best to confirm with a medical professional. Check out our recommendations below to learn which mattress design would best suit your patient or loved one’s needs.

Our Recommendations for... 

Mattress For Patients at Low Risk

Low Risk Patients

Patients at very low risk for sores, who are still mobile, can easily benefit from simply adding our memory foam mattress topper over their existing mattress to distribute weight off potential pressure points evenly.

Mattress For Limited Mobility

Low Risk + Limited Mobility Patients

Those at low risk with limited mobility would benefit more from using the alternating pressure pad overlay. This design is placed on top of existing mattress and provides a cycle of patterned pressure relief.

Mattress For Serious Pressure Sores

Moderate Risk Patients

When risk for pressure sores becomes more serious, it’s time to consider an alternating pressure pad with medical-grade quality. Our 5” alternating pressure pad offers adjustable firmness, alternating air cells, low air loss and water resistant cover that can be easily installed on top of existing mattress. Air pressure can be adjusted from 35 to 130mmHg, making it a good choice for a range of patients. Simply tuck the ends of the pad under your mattress and it’s ready to go.

Mattress for Lack of Mobility

High Risk Patients 

For patients at high risk, who lack mobility and may have already developed pressure sores, the best option is the full 8” alternating pressure mattress replacement which has 19 air cells that can be adjusted for sitting, low to high pressure, and static mode that keeps the mattress inflated evenly. Its thick design is made to fit in most hospital bed frames.

Mattress for Surgery Recovery

Temporary Use (Surgery Recovery)

Whether you are recovering from surgery, are sick in bed, or need relief from temporary aches and pain, the best solution is to find a slim and easy to install mattress topper. Our alternating pressure pad is a good choice, with adjustable firmness, alternating pressure-relief and a design that can be installed right on top of your regular bed.


Frequently Asked Questions

See what other Vive Health shoppers are asking, and find all the answers you need to make the best purchase possible.

Q: What are air mattresses made of?

A: All our air filled pressure mattresses are made of latex-free vinyl. This ensures long-term durability preventing rips or tears that could lead to air loss.

Q: Do air mattresses prevent bed sores?

A: Yes, our pressure mattresses are designed to prevent the development and progression of bedsores or ulcers. Their job is to eliminate points of high pressure and are equipped with features like variable pressure settings and quiet operation to help promote restful sleep.

Q: How does an alternating pressure mattress work?

A: Using a pump that is attached to the foot of the bed, the mattress inflates individual pressure cells to remove weight and pressure off areas vulnerable to developing bedsores. What makes an alternating pressure mattress different from a normal air mattress, is the constant airflow between alternating lateral air cells.

Need More Help?

Get more information on all Vive Health products by talking to our customer service and product specialists. Call between 8:30am and 9pm EST daily at 1-800-487-3808 or email us at

Juan Lopez
Juan Lopez

Juan Lopez is part of the product development and improvement team at His understanding of products and vast knowledge of consumer needs makes it easy for him to provide helpful information on choosing the best products.

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