Early Access Note:
Early Access articles are new content made available in advance of the final electronic or print versions and result from IEEE’s Preprint or Rapid Post processes. Preprint articles are peer-reviewed but not fully edited. Rapid Post articles are peer-reviewed and edited but not paginated. Both these types of Early Access articles are fully citable from the moment they appear in IEEE Xplore.
Background and objective: Immobility of the lower extremity due to medical conditions such as stroke can lead to medical complications such as deep vein thrombosis or ankle contracture, and thereafter prolonged recovery process of the patients. In this preliminary clinical study, we aimed to examine the effect of a novel soft robotic sock device, capable of providing assisted ankle exercise, in improving blood flow in the lower limb to prevent complication of stroke such as deep vein thrombosis and joint contracture. Methods: Stroke patients were recruited (n=17) to compare patients using the conventional pneumatic compression device with our robotic sock device on separate days. The primary outcome was to compare the venous flow profile of the superficial femoral vein in terms of the time average mean velocity and volumetric flow. The secondary outcome was to identify the ankle joint range of motion with assistance of the device. Results: We noted improvements in the venous profile at the early phase of the device use, though its efficacy seemed to drop with time, as compared to the IPC device where there was significant improvement in the venous profile. The ankle joint dorsiflexion-plantarflexion range of motion assisted by the device was 11.5±6.3°. Conclusion and clinical impact: The current version of our sock device appears to be capable of improving venous blood flow in the early phase of device use and assisting with ankle joint exercise. The insights from this preliminary clinical study will serve as the basis for further improvement of the device and subsequent conduct of a longitudinal clinical trial. Funding: National Health Innovation Centre Singapore (NHIC) grant, R-172-000-391-511, MOE AcRF Tier 1 R-397-000-301-114 .READ FULL ARTICLE ON IEEE XPLORE