IJAT Vol.11 No.3 pp. 501-508
doi: 10.20965/ijat.2017.p0501


A Mechatronic Pneumatic Device to Improve Diastolic Function by Intermittent Action on Lower Limbs

Andrea Manuello Bertetto*1,†, Silvia Meili*1, Carlo Ferraresi*2, Daniela Maffiodo*2, Antonio Crisafulli*3, and Alberto Concu*4

*1Laboratory of Applied Mechanics and Robotics, Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari
Via Marengo 2, Cagliari 09123, Italy

Corresponding author

*2Group of Automation and Robotics, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy

*3Laboratory of Sports Physiology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy

*42C Technologies Inc., Spinoff of University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy

October 3, 2016
March 6, 2017
Online released:
April 28, 2017
May 5, 2017
pneumatic flexible actuators, left ventricle end diastolic volume, mechatronic devices for rehabilitation, thoracic electrical bioimpedance, walking disability

Individuals with walking disability, as a result of pathological conditions or traumas, show a reduction in left ventricle end diastolic volume (EDV). In fact EDV is closely related to the blood pressure gradient between the postcaval vein and the right atrium which, during locomotion, is partially due to the calf veins squeezing caused by the rhythmic contraction of the triceps surae and the crushing of the sole of the foot’s veins. In this study, a mechatronic device was applied to nineteen healthy voluntary participants’ lower limbs to test cardiodynamic response to a mechanical intermittent stimulation. The device consisted of inflatable bladders embedded in two shells and acting on the skin of the calf and foot of both legs. The pressure trend on the legs was regulated by a portable programmable logic controller. During the compression protocol to the legs, which involved some sequences of activation-deactivation following a peristaltic compression having a caudal-rostral trend, EDV, assessed by the impedance cardiography technique, increased of about 10% up the pre-test value. The legs compression protocol imposed by means of our pneumatic device might be useful to avoid the negative consequences for cardiovascular performance caused by de-conditioning status linked to walking disabilities.

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Last updated on Sep. 19, 2017