CRT Technology Showcase

Cryo Technology: Active Cooling for Wheelchair Users

JAY Fluid with Cryo TechnologyWhen we think of how a wheelchair cushion provides protection against skin breakdown and pressure injuries, we typically think of how it distributes the client’s weight. We think of offloading and contouring, and different cushion materials, sometimes used in tandem.

But today’s buzzword is microclimate, the interface between the user and the cushion. When heat and moisture get trapped there, clients can be at greater risk of skin breakdown, especially if they use their wheelchairs for long periods.

Now, Sunrise Medical has taken a new approach to this perennial seating problem.

Active Cooling

It’s called Cryo Technology, and it works actively, not passively, to cool.

“With traditional cushions on the market today, seated skin surface temperature can rise, leading to an increased risk in skin breakdown,” said Tom Ryan, JAY Product Manager. “JAY Fluid with Cryo Technology was developed to address not only pressure and shear, but to take skin protection seating a step further, addressing temperature and moisture. By cooling the skin surface temperature, you naturally reduce potential moisture associated with localized perspiration at the surface between the cushion and user.”

Cryo Technology, Ryan explained, is based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “Heat will naturally flow from an object with a higher temperature to an object with a lower temperature. JAY Fluid with Cryo pulls heat from the user, absorbing it through the melting paraffin within the microbeads. In addition to microbeads, JAY Fluid with Cryo contains graphite to make it more thermally conductive. The graphite serves two purposes: It more effectively conducts heat away from the body, reducing skin temperature, and the heat from the body flows into the phase change paraffin material inside the microbeads, actively sequestering heat from the tissue and lowering its temperature more than direct conduction would provide.”

Cooling begins as soon as the client sits down. Ryan said JAY Fluid with Cryo Technology “was engineered to mildly cool the skin within a therapeutic, temperate range of 28-35°C (82.4-95°F), effectively lowering the risk of skin breakdown.

“JAY Fluid with Cryo actively cools the seated skin surface for up to eight hours while evenly distributing pressure, reducing shear and lowering the risk of moisture,” he added. When the user transfers off, “The cushion will then naturally ‘recharge’ while not in use as the paraffin cools back to a solid state.” Sunrise recommends that JAY Fluid cushions “recharge” for 12 hours at room temperature to reach peak performance.

Big Benefits from Small Changes

Cryo Technology is available in the JAY Fusion and JAY Syncra cushions, and despite its high-tech way of cooling, its maintenance routine is decidedly low tech.

“The great thing about the JAY Fluid with Cryo is that is does not require any additional maintenance over our time-tested JAY Flow Fluid,” Ryan said. “The fluid insert can be wiped with warm water and soap, rinsed with a clean, damp cloth and wiped dry with a clean cloth.”

Compared to passive cooling methods, such as breathable cushion covers, Cryo Technology’s active process has been shown to provide greater cooling to keep skin within healthier temperature ranges. “Research has shown lowering skin temperature as little as 1°C (1.8°F) can reduce the risk of skin breakdown significantly,” Ryan pointed out. “[This] was designed for the user who requires superior skin protection and will be using their wheelchair for extended periods of time throughout the day.”

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Mobility Management.