Orthostatic intolerance in patients can occur secondary to concomitant venous pooling and enhanced capillary filtration when standing upright, and is one of the principle causes of syncope or fainting. Compression therapy is commonly recommended for the management of syncope based on the assumption that it increases venous return. Technologies currently used include compression stockings, whose efficacy has, however, been challenged, and intermittent pneumatic pressure devices, which highly restrict the patients' mobility. This paper therefore investigates a novel active compression brace (ACB), which could potentially provide intermittent pressure while not restricting movements. The ACB, actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) wires, in this work was tested with twelve healthy individuals in a seated position. The experimental observation showed that the ACB can apply a constant initial pressure to the leg similar to commercial compression stockings and also produce intermittent pressure exceeding 30 mmHg. A comparison between analytical and experimental results showed a maximum of 2.08 mmHg absolute averaged difference among all the participants. A correlation analysis showed that the normalized root-mean-square deviation (NRMSD) between the experimental and analytical results had a significant negative correlation with the estimated total calf circumference minus the calf fat cross-sectional area (CSA). A calibration formula, accounting for fat and circumference of the leg, was introduced to account for these two parameters. The comfort of the ACB was also compared to two other available compression devices using questionnaires. No participants reported discomfort in terms of pressure, skin irritation, or heat generated by the ACB.
A Shape Memory Alloy-Based Compression Therapy Prototype Tested With Individuals in Seated Position
Manuscript received September 1, 2016; final manuscript received July 26, 2017; published online August 16, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler.
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Moein, H., Wu, A., and Menon, C. (August 16, 2017). "A Shape Memory Alloy-Based Compression Therapy Prototype Tested With Individuals in Seated Position." ASME. J. Med. Devices. December 2017; 11(4): 041002. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4037441
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