What is the difference between alternating pressure and low-air-loss?
Although they're both EO277 powered mattresses, alternating pressure and low-air-loss operate on two totally different principles.
Alternating pressure mattresses consist of individual air tubes that inflate and deflate on a set schedule, and in an A-B-A-B pattern. That is, at a given moment the A tubes are inflated and the B tubes are deflated, and then they reverse. This automatically changes the pressures on a given point on the body, enhancing tissue perfusion by "milking" blood through capillaries as pressure is applied and released.
Low-air-loss mattresses consist of large bladders punctured by tiny pin-holes. Air diffuses up through these holes, and into the space between the air bladders or cylinders and the cover. Heat and moisture vapor from the patient diffuse down through the cover into this space, and is pushed away from the patient and out of the mattress/cover system. If this is done effectively, low-air-loss can reduce the negative effects of heat and moisture buildup on the skin.
Both technologies are used in the management of skin and wounds. Neither has consistently documented benefits over the other.
Does the Heel Slope contribute to foot-drop?
No more than any other mattress does. No mattress has ever prevented foot drop. The causes of foot drop are more closely linked to the individual's physical condition, rather than to a lack of support of the foot in supine. However, the Heel Slope does support the foot more effectively by better accommodating the shape of the heel and lower leg and still dramatically reduces interface pressures.
Does the Heel Slope contribute to edema in the lower leg and foot?
No. Edema is caused by the part (e.g. the hand or foot) being lower than the heart. With the Heel Slope, the heel is even with the heart. Therefore, the Heel Slope cannot contribute to edema.