Seat cushions provide a critical interface between the wheelchair and user and have an impact on positioning and tissue integrity. Published technical standards for wheelchair seat cushions provide standardized terminology and methods for characterizing product performance. Nine ISO 16840 seating standards have been published (www.iso.org). These voluntary standards provide information that can be used by manufacturers to assess and benchmark their products, by consumers and clinicians to compare and select products, and by regulators, purchasers and third-party payers in regulatory and purchasing policies.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) applied a subset of test methods from the ISO 16840 standard suite to a diverse cohort of approximately 50 cushions. This web-based interactive tool has been created to allow stakeholders to explore our independently generated cushion performance data. The cushions are not identified by name but by cushion categories. You can sort cushion performance by broad cushion category or CMS code. The performance data includes a reference cushion, which is a 3” thick, high density polyurethane foam cushion with a 25% IFD of 170 N and 65% IFD of 320 N. The reference foam cushion was enclosed in a cover with a 2-way stretch nylon/spandex top and non-slip polyester bottom.

  1. General Use (containing General Use (E2601) and Positioning (E2605) cushions),
  2. Skin Protection (containing Skin Protection (E2603) and Skin Protection & Positioning (E2607) cushions) and
  3. Adjustable Skin Protection (containing Adjustable Skin Protection (E2622) and Adjustable Skin Protection & Positioning (E2624) cushions).
  1. General Use (E2601)
  2. Positioning (E2605)
  3. Skin Protection (E2603)
  4. Skin Protection & Positioning (E2607)
  5. Adjustable Skin Protection (E2622)
  6. Adjustable Skin Protection & Positioning (E2624)

The following ISO standards should be referenced for more information on the test methods:

  • ISO 16840-2: Determination of physical and mechanical characteristics of seat cushions intended to manage tissue integrity
  • ISO 16840-6: Simulated use and determination of the changes in properties of seat cushions
  • ISO 16840-12: Apparatus and method for cushion envelopment testing
  • ISO 16840-13: Determination of the lateral stability property of a seat cushion