Evaluation of an Instrumented Sleeve for Myoelectrically-Triggered Functional Electrical Therapy: Indo-German Stroke Study

Anirban Dutta, Asokan Thondiyath, and Alakananda Banerjee

Keywords

myoelectric, functional electrical stimulation, footdrop, stroke, motor rehabilitation

Abstract

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) involves electrical stimulation of nerves and muscles with continuous short pulses of electrical current at a certain pulse rate (or frequency) in a coordinated fashion to improve functional movement of limbs during walking. NMES triggered by the motor-signal enforces volitional effort in conjunction with NMES-assisted action of the synergistic muscles which may facilitate motor re-learning and long-term therapeutic benefits. Our overarching goal is to evaluate a NMES-based Functional Electrical Therapy (FET) protocol for ankle rehabilitation following stroke in survivors suffering from foot-drop. The focus of this study is development of a low-cost, easy to don/doff, Electromyogram (EMG)-triggered NMES device for FET. We performed a cutaneous sensation test for our low-cost saline-soaked sponge electrodes which were designed to be integrated in an instrumented sleeve. We also evaluated the classification accuracy of an EMG-classifier based on the the signals derived from low-cost stainless-steel EMG-electrodes which were aslo integrated in the instrumented sleeve. We could conclude from our feasibility study that the threshold-based EMG classifier presented a high false positive rate of around 4%, and a lower electrode conductivity of the stimulating saline-soaked sponge electrode reduced prickle sensation at the edges. The high false positive rate can easily be reduced to zero if EMG in conjunction with heel-switch triggers the NMES during FET which is our new classifier for future studies.

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