Technology Helps Patients Overcome Stroke Disabilities

According to the American Heart Association, in any given year, an estimated 5,800,000 adults age 20 years and older have a stroke (1 person every 40 seconds).

According to the American Heart Association, in any given year, an estimated 5,800,000 adults age 20 years and older have a stroke (1 person every 40 seconds). Stroke is the third leading cause of death (1 person out of 16) behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. Recovering from a stroke can be difficult, especially for those who develop paralysis, speech problems, or pain.

Paralysis Resource Center: General recovery guidelines:

• 10% of stroke survivors recover almost completely

• 25% recover with minor impairments

• 40% experience moderate to severe impairments requiring special care

• 10% require care in a nursing home or other long-term care facility

• 15% die shortly after the stroke

New technologies are being created to help stroke patients who experience any of the associated disabilities. These technologies are designed to increase a patient’s mobility in the arms, legs, or any other part of the body that has been affected. Here is a brief summary of some of the latest devices that may help your patients.

Biomove 500 Stroke Rehabilitation System

This easy-to-use system features “clear audiovisual biofeedback information in combination with muscle stimulation to the stroke survivor”which can be used in both the clinical setting and at home. The device was designed to detect extremely small electrical EMG signals that “persist in spastic muscles after a stroke and uses these tiny signals to initiate electrical stimulation impulses to these muscles, resulting in actual muscle movement.”

NESS L300 Neuro-rehabilitation System

Last year, the FDA gave clearance to allow physicians to use NESS L300 neuro-rehabilitation system on stroke patients experiencing foot drop. This device is strapped to a patient’s lower leg and foot and uses sensors to “detect whether the patient’s foot is in the air or on the ground, and electrodes transmit painless electrical stimulation to the peroneal nerve to activate the calf muscle and correct their gait.” NESS L300 has also demonstrated the ability “to improve walking coordination, speed and blood flow, and decrease the effort required in walking while wearing the device.”

Sensorimotor Active Rehabilitation Training (SMART) Arm

In the June issue of Stroke, results from a study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, who tested a new nonrobotic device—Sensorimotor Active Rehabilitation Training (SMART) Arm—were published and demonstrated that this device “can help stroke survivors with partial arm paralysis re-learn the task of reaching.” The researchers note that “using the SMART Arm can reduce impairment and improve activity in stroke survivors with severe and chronic upper limb paresis… highlighting the benefits intensive task-oriented practice, even in the context of severe paresis.”

What suggestions do you offer to your stroke patients on the road to recovery no matter what disability/disabilities has affected them?