UW researchers develop device to monitor swelling in residual limb

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed a device to monitor swelling in a patient’s residual limb, according to a news release.

The device uses electrodes placed on the residual limb within the prosthetic socket to measure increased or decreased fluid volume in the limb. The patient then wears a circuit board in a small pack around the waist that calculates the fluid volume change and wirelessly transmits the data to a computer or tablet.

The researchers are testing the device while patients perform a series of 90-second exercises that include sitting, standing and walking. To date, they have tested the device on approximately 60 patients.

“Each person has his or her own characteristics and qualities that affect how limb volume changes,” Joan Sanders, PhD, the lead investigator and a professor of bioengineering at UW, stated in the release. “You really have to look at each person on a case-by-case basis.”

In the future, the researchers hope to build a smaller device that can be worn for a few weeks at a time in order to monitor limb size as patients perform activities of daily living.

Disclosure: This research has been funded by a grant from the US Department of Defense.

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