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Control of leg-powered paraplegic cycling using stimulation of the lumbo-sacral anterior spinal nerve roots

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5 Author(s)
Perkins, T.A. ; Dept. of Med. Phys. & Bioeng., Univ. Coll. London, UK ; Donaldson, Nde.N. ; Hatcher, N.A.C. ; Swain, I.D.
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We investigated leg-powered cycling in a recumbent tricycle for a paraplegic using functional electrical stimulation (FES) with the lumbo-sacral anterior root stimulator implant (LARSI). A female complete T9 paraplegic had a stimulator for the anterior L2 to S2 spinal roots (bilaterally) implanted in 1994. She was provided with equipment for daily FES cycling exercise at home. The cycling controller applies a pattern of stimulation in each of 16 crank angle phases. A 7-bit shaft encoder measures the crank angle with adequate precision. Each pattern was originally chosen to give the greatest propulsive force in that position when there was no motion. However, dynamically, some reduction in co-contraction is needed; also the patterns are applied with a preset advance time. Maximal power is obtained with an advance of 250 ms, which compensates for muscle response delay and accommodates changes in cadence (from about 25 to 85 rpm). With this system, she has cycled 1.2 km at a time on gently undulating road. We found that spinal root stimulation gives sufficient control over the muscles in the legs to produce a fluid cycling gait. We propose that root stimulation for leg cycling exercise may be a practicable and valuable function for paraplegics following spinal cord injury.

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Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 3 )