Vol. 40 No. 3, May/June 2003
Pages 241 — 252
Long-term user perceptions of an implanted neuroprosthesis for exercise, standing, and transfers after spinal cord injurySanjeev Agarwal, MD; Ronald J. Triolo, PhD; Rudi Kobetic, MS; Michael Miller, MS; Carol Bieri, MS, PT; Sahana Kukke, MS; Lori Rohde, MS, PT; John A. Davis, Jr., MDDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH;
Motion Study Laboratory, Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH;
Department of Orthopaedics, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OHAbstract — This study was completed to understand the usage patterns, system performance, degree of satisfaction, complications, and health benefits as perceived by recipients of a surgically implanted neuroprosthesis for exercise, standing, and transfers in individuals with low-cervical or thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI). A standardized telephone survey was administered to 11 recipients of the Case Western Reserve University/Veterans Affairs (CWRU/VA) implanted standing neuroprosthesis with more than 12 months of experience with the functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. Nine implant recipients were using the neuroprosthesis regularly for standing and/or exercising at the time of the survey. All 11 implant recipients noted improved health and a reduced incidence of pressure sores, leg spasms, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). No incidents of deep-vein thrombosis, infection, cellulitis, or electrical burns because of the neuroprosthesis were noted. System recipients uniformly felt that the neuroprosthesis resulted in better overall health and general well-being. Subjects were moderately to very satisfied with the performance of the neuroprosthesis and unanimously expressed a willingness to repeat the surgery and rehabilitation to obtain the same clinical outcome. All implant recipients reported the system to be safe, reliable, and easy to use. The implanted standing neuroprosthesis appears to be a clinically acceptable and effective means of providing the ability to exercise, stand, and transfer to selected individuals with paraplegia or low tetraplegia.Key words: FES, FNS, functional electrical system, functional neuromuscular stimulation, neuroprosthesis, spinal cord injury, standing.