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The Development of Limb Accelerations as a Measure of Neuromuscular Impairment and Predictor of Ambulatory Ability Following Spinal Cord Injury

Rigot, Stephanie (2021) The Development of Limb Accelerations as a Measure of Neuromuscular Impairment and Predictor of Ambulatory Ability Following Spinal Cord Injury. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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After a spinal cord injury (SCI), clinicians must quickly decide if they want to focus therapy towards gait training or wheeled mobility interventions to maximize an individual's functional mobility by discharge. Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) such as those that use age, strength, and sensation, can assist clinicians in making those difficult decisions, but for individuals with an incomplete SCI, these CPRs are often inaccurate. Additionally, these models only predict whether an individual can walk a short distance without physical assistance, which is not a sufficient description of functional ambulation. Limb accelerations (LA), captured unobtrusively and at a low cost from wearable accelerometers, may provide a responsive and informative movement biomarker of neuromuscular impairment that can be used to determine more accurate predictions of ambulatory ability among those who would benefit from them the most.

Our long-term goal is to build a new CPR using LA that predicts functional ambulation after SCI, thus enabling appropriately targeted mobility training. As a first step towards this goal, we utilized a cross-sectional study to build a foundational knowledge of LA and its relationship to measures of neuromuscular impairment (Aim 1) and ambulatory ability (Aim 2) using machine learning techniques and a sample with chronic, motor incomplete SCI and known, diverse functional abilities. Using a longitudinal study consisting of individuals with acute, incomplete SCI, we established that LA is reliable when measured acutely at admission to inpatient rehabilitation (Aim 3a). We also investigated the changes in LA over time (Aim 3b) and in relation to clinical measures (Aim 4a) and explored the potential utility of LA measured at admission to inpatient rehabilitation to predict long-term ambulatory ability (Aim 4b) for those with acute, incomplete SCI. These results demonstrated that LA is a reliable and clinically-relevant metric that is likely to improve the prediction of ambulatory ability, thus improving long-term, functional outcomes for individuals with SCI.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rigot, Stephanierigots@pitt.edurigots0000-0002-0875-2798
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBoninger,
Committee MemberCollinger,
Committee MemberDing,
Committee MemberWorobey,
Date: 3 September 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 June 2021
Approval Date: 3 September 2021
Submission Date: 19 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 251
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spinal Cord Injury, Ambulation, Wearable Sensors, Accelerometers, Physical Therapy
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2021 18:03
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 18:03


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