poster
 

Electrical Stimulation of Motor Nerves. An alternative Approach for the Enhancement of Lower Limb Blood Flow

A. Maass1, 2, A.T. Tucker1, 2, D. Bain1, M. Azzam2, H. Dawson2, H. Jawad1, A. Johnston1

1Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute

2Microvascular Unit St Bartholomew's Hospital, London

Background

Electrical muscle stimulation of the lower limb has been shown to enhance peripheral venous return1. Such systems generally have low levels of patient compliance due to discomfort and enforced immobility. 
The THRIVE device, a newly developed technology, activates the venous muscle pumps of the calf via transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the common peroneal nerve located within the popliteal fossa, behind the knee. Uniquely, this system allows unrestricted ambulation while active. This study investigated the safety, efficacy and practicality of a novel neuromuscular stimulator for the augmentation of lower limb blood flow.

Methods

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Results

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a) LDF response is increased up to 2500 % compared to baseline

 

 

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b) Blood volume flow is increased up to 370 % compared to baseline

 

 

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c) Blood flow velocity is increased up to 350 % compared to baseline

 

 

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d) Discomfort has mainly been rated up to a VRS score of 3 indicating only mild discomfort

 

 

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e) Superficial femoral vein (SFV) at rest

 

 

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f) Superficial femoral vein with the THRIVE device active

 

 

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g) Superficial femoral artery (SFA) at rest

 

 

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h) Superficial femoral artery with the THRIVE device active

 

Conclusions

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation of the lower leg, using the THRIVE system, significantly increases whole lower limb blood flow. Such a system has significant potential in the management of pathologies such as ischaemic limbs, peripheral oedema, fracture and wound care. Further potential applications are the prevention of deep vein thrombosis.

 

References:

1: Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;2009:2149-52. A hemodynamic study of popliteal vein blood flow: the effect of bed rest and electrically elicited calf muscle contractions. Broderick BJ, O'Briain DE, Breen PP, Keams SR, Olaighin G.