UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessment of upper limb myoelectric prostheses Chan, Anthony Yuet K


In recent years, many new prosthetic devices have entered the marketplace claiming to be easy to use and to significantly improve the functional outcomes of the amputees. This research study aimed at establishing evidence and providing tools to rehabilitation professionals and funding agencies for use in appropriate prescriptions of prostheses to amputees who lost their upper limbs from work-related injuries. The thesis started with a review of published literatures on upper limb myoelectric prostheses. The review focused on critical factors affecting successful prescriptions, current standards governing design and safe use, guidelines and practice for testing, performance evaluation, and outcome measurements. To understand the current practice and state of technology, an overview of upper limb functions, amputation characteristics, residual limb management, prosthetic intervention, and current prosthetic technologies was included. A retrospective data analysis was performed on case files of upper limb amputee prosthetic users. The analysis first looked at the profile of the amputees, characteristics of prosthetic prescriptions, and levels of prosthetic utilization. Based on the claim files from prosthetists, the reliability, maintenance requirements, as well as the acquisition and operating costs of different prosthetic devices were studied. Results of the analysis such as prosthetic abandonment rates, mean time between failures, average maintenance service intervals, and life-cycle cost of ownerships were presented. A survey was performed to collect information on safety issues relating to prosthetic use. Based on survey results and risk management standards on medical devices, a systematic process to perform risk assessment on upper limb prostheses was formulated. This process took into consideration the functional activities and employment needs from the users’ and caregivers’ perspectives. An assessment platform for upper limb externally-powered prostheses was developed. The platform consisted of a hardware EMG signal acquisition module, an analog I/O module, virtual instrument (VI) modules, and a number of custom-built transducer circuits. The platform was designed to assess the functional performance of myoelectric prostheses and to verify technical specifications of prosthetic components. Two commercial myoelectric prosthetic terminal devices were used to validate the platform.

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