Volume 50 Number 10, 2013
Pages 1373 — 1390
Abstract — Lightweight wheelchairs are characterized by their low cost and limited range of adjustment. Our study evaluated three different folding lightweight wheelchair models using the American National Standards Institute/Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (ANSI/RESNA) standards to see whether quality had improved since the previous data were reported. On the basis of reports of increasing breakdown rates in the community, we hypothesized that the quality of these wheelchairs had declined. Seven of the nine wheelchairs tested failed to pass the multidrum test durability requirements. An average of 194,502 +/– 172,668 equivalent cycles was completed, which is similar to the previous test results and far below the 400,000 minimum required to pass the ANSI/RESNA requirements. This was also significantly worse than the test results for aluminum ultralight folding wheelchairs. Overall, our results uncovered some disturbing issues with these wheelchairs and suggest that manufacturers should put more effort into this category to improve quality. To improve the durability of lightweight wheelchairs, we suggested that stronger regulations be developed that require wheelchairs to be tested by independent and certified test laboratories. We also proposed a wheelchair rating system based on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration vehicle crash ratings to assist clinicians and end users when comparing the durability of different wheelchairs.
Key words: ANSI/RESNA, depot wheelchair, double drum, durability, fatigue tests, lightweight wheelchair, manual wheelchair, wheelchair, wheelchair comparison, wheelchair testing.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 11:27 AM