Lending a Helping Hand: New Device for Stroke Patients Restores Hand Mobility

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Is One of Few Centers in NYC to Offer Device

Apr 4, 2006


Stroke patients often experience hand paralysis, a sometimes painful condition that prevents them from doing many everyday activities from opening a door to washing themselves. A new device called the NESS H200™ helps these patients "get a grip." Worn on the forearm, it delivers an electrical impulse to the muscles in the hand and forearm to stimulate movement. The device is currently available in New York City through occupational therapists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"In as little as two months, the NESS H200 can restore some hand function to stroke patients, giving them the freedom to do things they weren't able to before such as feeding themselves and holding a book," says Kerri Morris, occupational therapy manager at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "Additionally, the device increases blood circulation, reduces spasticity, improves skin integrity, and prevents or reverses muscle atrophy."

The device consists of a wearable brace and a control unit. Following instructions ("open," "close") sent by the patient or therapist on the control unit, the device emits synchronized electrical impulses to the peripheral nerve, activating five muscle groups of the forearm and hand.

The NESS H200 may be beneficial to nearly all stroke patients, except those who cannot be exposed to electrical stimulation (including patients who are pregnant or have a pacemaker). For best results, the device should be used as close to the time following a stroke as possible.

"We have found that our stroke patients have experienced very positive results through the use of the NESS H200," says Dr. Michael O'Dell, associate chief of rehabilitation medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "We are pleased to offer a coordinated continuum of care here at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell where our patients' acute needs are met through our designated Stroke Center and their long-term physical needs can be addressed by the collective expertise and technology available at the Medical Center."

In the future, the device may also be used to help spinal-cord-injury patients.

The NESS H200 is manufactured by Bioness Inc. of Santa Clarita, Calif.

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