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Implanted functional electrical stimulation system for mobility in paraplegia: a follow-up case report

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10 Author(s)
R. Kobetic ; Motion Study Lab., Veterans Affairs Med. Center, Cleveland, OH, USA ; R. J. Triolo ; J. P. Uhlir ; C. Bieri
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A 16-channel functional electrical stimulation (FES) system has been implanted in a person with T10 paraplegia for over a year. The system consists of two eight-channel radio frequency controlled receiver-stimulators delivering stimuli through a network of 14 epimysial and two intramuscular electrodes. Using this system and a walker for support, the subject was able to stand up for 8 min and walk regularly for 20 m. The standing duration was limited by arm fatigue since upper extremities supported an average of 25% of body weight. This was due to suboptimal hip extension and some undesired recruitment of rectus femoris and sartorius with stimulation of quadriceps electrodes. The left quadriceps exhibited rapid fatigue that limited walking distance and duration. The metabolic energy requirements were well within the aerobic limits of the sedentary paraplegic population. At one-year follow-up evaluation all electrodes are functional except one intramuscular electrode. The implant caused no adverse physiological effects and the individual reported health benefits such as increased energy and overall fitness as a result of the FES system use. With further improvements in muscle response through innovative surgical techniques, the 16-channel implanted FES system can be a viable addition to exercise and mobility function in persons with paraplegia

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IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 4 )