Ankle dorsiflexion assist using a single sensor-based FES: Results from clinical study on patients with stroke
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Objective: Ankle foot orthosis (AFO) commonly prescribed to manage foot-drop following stroke restricts ankle mobility. Commercially available functional electrical stimulation (FES) is an expensive alternative to achieve desired dorsiflexion during swing phase of the gait cycle. An in-house cost effective innovative solution was designed and developed to address this problem. The aim of the study was to compare spatiotemporal gait characteristics of patients with foot-drop following stroke using commercially available FES against in-house developed versatile single sensor-based FES. Material and Methods: Ten patients with cerebrovascular accident of at least 3 months duration and ambulant with/without AFO were recruited prospectively. They were trained with Device-1 (Commercial Device) and Device-2 (In-house developed, Re-Lift) for 7 h over 3 consecutive days with each device. Outcome measures included timed-up-and-go-test (TUG), six-minute-walk-test (6MWT), ten-meter-walk-test (10MWT), physiological cost index (PCI), instrumented gait analysis derived spatiotemporal parameters, and patient satisfaction feedback questionnaire. We calculated intra class correlation between devices and median interquartile range. Statistical analysis included Wilcoxon-signed-rank-test and F-test (P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant). Bland Altman and scatter plots were plotted for both devices. Results: Intra class correlation coefficient for 6MWT (0.96), 10MWT (0.97), TUG test (0.99), and PCI (0.88) reflected high agreement between the two devices. Scatter plot and Bland Altman plots for the outcome parameters showed good correlation between two FES devices. Patient satisfaction scores were equal for both Device-1 and Device-2. There was statistically significant change in swing phase ankle dorsiflexion. Conclusions: The study demonstrated good correlation between commercial FES and Re-Lift suggestive of the utility of low-cost FES device in clinical setting.