Design of an Intelligent Compression Stocking for Reducing Ulcer Healing Time

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Title: Design of an Intelligent Compression Stocking for Reducing Ulcer Healing Time
Author: Hegarty, Meghan Sarah
Advisors: Dr. Edward Grant, Committee Chair
Dr. Carol Giuliani, Committee Member
Dr. Brooke Steele, Committee Member
Abstract: Venous leg ulcers remain a problem in the United States, costing the health care industry nearly $1 billion annually. A major portion of this spending is incurred as a result of prolonged healing time. Compression therapy is known to promote recovery. This technique may be improved by allowing for dynamic customization of treatment parameters. The design of a sensing system for an intelligent compression stocking is described in this thesis. This sensing system will eventually serve as a means by which to quantify the performance of the stocking through the continuous measurement of key physiological variables. Blood flow velocity will be measured using an acoustic array, and leg volume will be quantified using bio-impedance techniques. Preliminary experiments were conducted in order to verify the responsiveness and practicality of using these technologies to monitor ulcer healing. The Edema Monitoring System was capable of resolving small changes in leg volume resulting from artificially-induced swelling. Unfortunately, the Acoustic Blood Flow Measurement System did not perform acceptably in terms of accuracy and robustness. Future directions for this technology include finding a more acceptable means by which to measure blood flow velocity, improving the sensing system by incorporating additional optimization parameters, exploring the use of alternative actuation mechanisms, and expanding its use to encompass all medical-grade compression stockings.
Date: 2009-03-03
Degree: MS
Discipline: Biomedical Engineering

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