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Volume 44 Number 4 2007
Pages 525 — 536


Abstract - Assessment of residual-limb volume change using bioimpedence

Joan E. Sanders, PhD;1* Ellen L. Rogers, MS;1 Daniel C. Abrahamson, CPO2

Departments of 1Bioengineering and 2Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Abstract — We investigated electrical bioimpedance as a potential measurement modality to assess residual-limb volume change in lower-limb amputees. Four strip electrodes were positioned across the anterior lateral to posterior lateral aspects of the proximal lower leg or residual limb such that the outer pair applied current and the inner pair sensed voltage. A commercial bioimpedance analyzer supplied current at 50 frequencies between 5 kHz and 1 MHz and then used a well-validated model to determine fluid resistance. From these data, extracellular fluid volume (VECF) could be estimated. Bench test evaluation showed the instrument to have a root-mean-square error of less than 0.014% over a 1 h interval. Tests of subjects who had been transtibial amputees for at least 2 yr showed VECF changes from postural adjustments well outside the instrument error and normal minute-to-minute biological variability. The rate of VECF change while standing with the prosthesis donned was greater for diabetic subjects than for nondiabetic subjects. Bioimpedance analysis may have use in prosthetics research, where comparing residual-limb volume at different time points or under different treatment conditions is of interest.

Key words: amputee, bioelectrical impedance, extracellular fluid, measurement, prosthesis, rehabilitation, residual-limb volume, shrinkage, swelling, transtibial.


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