Amputation clinical trials at University of California Health
5 in progress, 1 open to eligible people
Biofeedback Retention in Individuals With AKA
open to eligible people ages 18-70
More than two million Americans are currently living with a full or partial limb loss, and an additional 185,000 amputations occur each year. The majority of amputations occur in the lower limbs. There are many potential causes for amputation, but the majority can be attributed to vascular diseases, such as diabetes, traumatic injury, and cancer. For these individuals, prosthetic devices play an important role in restoring mobility and enabling them to participate in everyday activities. However, when learning to use these devices, patients often alter their movement patterns to compensate for pain or discomfort, a decreased ability to feel what their prosthetic limb is doing, and/or a fear of falling. By changing their movement patterns, patients will tend to am their intact leg, which has been shown to lead to long-term joint damage and chronic injury. For perspective, 75% of United States veterans living with amputation are diagnosed with a subsequent disease affecting their muscle, bone, and/or joint health. Therefore, therapy sessions, known as gait retraining, are an integral part of teaching prosthesis users to walk in a safe and efficient manner. With recent advances in wearable technology, researchers and therapists have begun exploring the use of biofeedback systems to assist with this retraining. In these systems, wearable sensors are used to measure how the patient is moving in real-time, and can provide information on how much time they spend on each leg and how much each joint moves during walking. Biofeedback refers to the process of communicating the information from these sensors back to the patients instruct them whether they need to change their movements. Previous research has shown that these systems have excellent potential for helping patients with physical disabilities improve their quality of motion. However, relatively little research has explored how well individuals with above-knee leg amputations respond to biofeedback during gait retraining. Importantly, the question of whether the new movement patterns taught using biofeedback will persist after training has finished remains unanswered. Therefore, the primary objective of this research is to determine whether biofeedback is a feasible tool for gait retraining with above-knee prosthesis (including a prosthetic knee, ankle, and foot) users. To answer these questions, forty individuals currently using above-knee prosthetic systems will undergo a single session of biofeedback training. Half of these populations will be from the civilian population, and half will be military veterans. During this training, the biofeedback system will apply short vibrations - similar to those generated by cellphones - to their skin every time that the patient reaches the desired degree of hip rotation during walking. Participants will be instructed to keep increasing their hip motion until they feel a vibration on every step. Before training, they will be instrumented with a wearable motion captures system, pressure sensors embedded in their shoes, and a wearable heart rate monitor. Using these devices, researchers will measure the participants' walking patterns without biofeedback determine their current ability. Once training is complete, their walking patterns will be measured again, first while using the biofeedback system, and then again fifteen minutes and thirty minutes after the biofeedback system has been removed. The data measured during these tests will enable researchers to calculate functional mobility scores that are used to evaluate the quality of a patient's walking, and then compare how these scores change before, during, and after biofeedback training. The knowledge gained through this research constitutes a critical step towards identifying optimal biofeedback strategies for maximizing patient mobility outcomes. The findings will be essential for the development of gait retraining protocols designed to reduce the incidence of chronic injury, and enable patients to achieve their full mobility potential. Building on these results, the next research phase will be to incorporate biofeedback training into a standard six-week gait retraining protocol to evaluate its long-term effectiveness as a rehabilitation tool. Unlike traditional gait retraining, which requires patients to visit clinics in-person for all sessions, the wearable, automated nature of biofeedback training will allow patients to continue gait training from home. This ability will enable patients to continue training activities between sessions, and ultimately may be able to substitute for some in-person visits. This potential for remote therapy has exciting implications for improved access to care for individuals living long distances from their rehabilitation providers, or those suffering from social anxiety, as well as during global health pandemics where in-person visits are difficult.
Improving Postamputation Functioning by Decreasing Phantom Pain With Perioperative Continuous Peripheral Nerve Blocks: A Department of Defense Funded Multicenter Study
Sorry, accepting new patients by invitation only
When a limb is amputated, pain perceived in the part of the body that no longer exists often develops, called "phantom limb" pain. The exact reason that phantom limb pain occurs is unclear, but when a nerve is cut-as happens with an amputation-changes occur in the brain and spinal cord that are associated with persistent pain. The negative feedback-loop between the injured limb and the brain can be stopped by putting local anesthetic-called a "nerve block"-on the injured nerve, effectively keeping any "bad signals" from reaching the brain. A "continuous peripheral nerve block" (CPNB) is a technique providing pain relief that involves inserting a tiny tube-smaller than a piece of spaghetti-through the skin and next to the target nerve. Local anesthetic is then introduced through the tiny tube, which bathes the nerve in the numbing medicine. This provides a multiple-day block that provides opioid-free pain control with no systemic side effects, and may prevent the destructive feedback loop that results in phantom limb pain following an amputation. We propose a multicenter, randomized, triple-masked (investigators, subjects, statisticians), placebo-controlled, parallel arm, human-subjects clinical trial to determine if a prolonged, high-concentration (dense), perioperative CPNB improves post-amputation physical and emotional functioning while decreasing opioid consumption, primarily by preventing chronic phantom limb pain.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields for Post-Amputation Pain
Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is a possible method of pain control involving the application of electromagnetic energy (also termed nonthermal, pulsed, shortwave radiofrequency therapy). Food and Drug Administration-cleared devices have been in clinical use for over 70 years. For decades, available devices consisted of a large signal generator and bulky coil applicator that were not portable and produced significant electromagnetic interference, making them impractical for common use. However, small, lightweight, relatively inexpensive, noninvasive, Food and Drug Administration-cleared devices that function for 30 days are now available to treat acute and chronic pain, decrease inflammation and edema, and hasten wound healing and bone regeneration. Therefore, it has the potential to concurrently improve analgesia and decrease or even negate opioid requirements, only without the limitations of opioids and peripheral nerve blocks. The purpose of this pilot study is to explore the possibility of treating chronic post-amputation pain with nonthermal, pulsed shortwave (radiofrequency) therapy, optimize the study protocol, and estimate the treatment effect in preparation for developing subsequent definitive clinical trials.
Pulsed Shortwave Therapy for Postoperative Analgesia
Sorry, accepting new patients by invitation only
Pulsed shortwave (radiofrequency) therapy is a possible method of pain control involving the application of electromagnetic energy (also termed pulsed electromagnetic fields). Food and Drug Administration-cleared devices have been in clinical use for over 70 years. For decades, available devices consisted of a large signal generator and bulky coil applicator that were not portable and produced significant electromagnetic interference, making them impractical for common use. However, small, lightweight, relatively inexpensive, noninvasive, Food and Drug Administration-cleared devices that function for 8 days are now available to treat acute and chronic pain, decrease inflammation and edema, and hasten wound healing and bone regeneration. Therefore, it has the potential to concurrently improve analgesia and decrease or even negate opioid requirements, only without the limitations of opioids and peripheral nerve blocks. The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility of treating acute postoperative pain with nonthermal, pulsed shortwave (radiofrequency) therapy, optimize the study protocol, and estimate the treatment effect.
Transtibial Amputation Outcomes Study
Sorry, in progress, not accepting new patients
The goals of the TAOS study is to determine the best procedures for below the knee amputations. There are two different procedures currently used by surgeons around the county: the Erlt procedure and the Burgess procedure. Proponents of the Ertl procedure advocate that the surgical formation of a tibia to fibula bone bridge provides stability, shape and weight bearing capability to the residual limb that result in less pain and better prosthetic fit and alignment. This procedure is popular especially among the military but it's advantages over the Burgess procedure are not well supported by current research. This study aims to compare the two amputation procedures in an adequately powered randomized trial.
Our lead scientists for Amputation research studies include Richard Souza Brian M Ilfeld, MD, MS.