A Device for Local or Remote Monitoring of Hand Rehabilitation Sessions for Rheumatic Patients
Current clinical practice suggests that recovering the hand functionality lost or reduced by injuries, interventions and chronic diseases requires, beyond pharmacological treatments, a kinesiotherapic intervention. This form of rehabilitation consists of physical exercises adapted to the specific pathology. Its effectiveness is strongly dependent on the patient’s adhesion to such a program. In this paper we present a novel device with remote monitoring capabilities expressly conceived for the needs of rheumatic patients. It comprises several sensorized tools and can be used either in an outpatient clinic for hand functional evaluation, connected to a PC, or afforded to the patient for home kinesiotherapic sessions. In the latter case, the device guides the patient in the rehabilitation session, transmitting the relevant statistics about his performance to a TCP/IP server exploiting a GSM/GPRS connection for deferred analysis. An approved clinical trial has been set up in Italy, involving 10 patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and 10 with Systemic Sclerosis, enrolled for 12 weeks in a home rehabilitation program with the proposed device. Their evaluation has been performed with traditional methods but also with the proposed device. Subjective (hand algofunctional Dreiser’s index) and objective (ROM, strength, dexterity) parameters showed a sustained improvement throughout the follow-up. The obtained results proved that the device is an effective and safe tool for assessing hand disability and monitoring kinesiotherapy exercise, portending the potential exploitability of such a methodology in the clinical practice.
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Dr. Pani is non-tenure Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Dept. Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2011. Current main research topics are embedded real-time processing of peripheral nervous system signals for neuroprostheses, real-time non-invasive fetal ECG extraction, bioinspired integrated architectures for parallel biomedical signal processing, telemedicine systems.
Mr. Barabino is Research Fellow at the Dept. Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2011. His main research interests are in the field of high performance DSP architectures and algorithms, non-invasive fetal ECG extraction and telemedicine.
Ms. Dessi is a PhD student in Electronic and Computer Engineering at the Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2011. Her main research activity is focused on biomedical digital signal processing algorithms, non-invasive fetal ECG extraction and telemedicine.
Dr. Tradori has been Adjunct Professor of Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Cagliari, Italy since 2006. He attended the Unit of Rheumatology, Medical Sciences of the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2010. Current main research topics are prevention in metabolic diseases such as diabetes, overweight and obesity.
Mr. Piga is non-tenure Assistant Professor in Rheumatology at the Dept. Medical Sciences of the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2012. Current main research topics are musculoskeletal and neuropsychiatric involvement of connective tissue diseases, immunogenetics of Behcet’s disease and Seronegative Spondyloarthritis, role of high definition ultrasound in the diagnosis and follow-up of chronic rheumatic diseases.
Mr. Mathieu is full Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Cagliari, Dept. of Medical Sciences, since 1990. He is Head of the Rheumatology Unit (Division) of the AOU University Clinic of Cagliari. Main topics of his research activity are: connective tissue diseases (especially systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis) and spondyloarthritis (especially ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis).
Dr. Raffo is Full Professor of Electronics at the University of Cagliari, Italy, since 2006. He teaches courses on digital and analog electronic design for the Courses of studies in Electronic and Biomedical Engineering. He was President of the Course of Studies in Biomedical Engineering from 2006 to 2012. His research activity is in the field of embedded systems and biomedical signal processing.