Mobility for Patients Confined to Chairs Made Possible By Argo Medical

By admin
July 30, 2014

There have been an array of developments with medical equipment allowing people with disabilities to participate in the world when they otherwise may not have been able to. When wheelchairs were first introduced they were large cumbersome devices. Since then, there have been many modifications and developments; turning them into specialized devices but still these people have been confined to chairs. What if these people were presented an option that would allow them to walk again or, in some cases, for the very first time? They will now be given this option.

As of June 26th, 2014, the FDA has approved the first exoskeleton device (ReWalk) for home use with patients who do not have use of their legs due to certain types of spinal cord injuries [1]. The device has been approved to “help an individual sit, stand, and walk with assistance from a trained companion, such as a spouse or home health aide” [1]. Dr. Amit Goffer, inventor of the ReWalk system, became a quadriplegic himself after an ATV accident in 1997 [2]; it is because of his experiences with assistive devices that he began to pursue a walking device for those limited to wheelchair use [3]. Using his PhD in electrical engineering [3], Dr. Goffer worked for many years to develop the ReWalk and create opportunities, through clinical trials, for paraplegics around the world to walk again.

The unit itself is quite costly, retailing from about $60,000-$70,000, placing it out of reach for quite a few people. This should not be a discouragement though. As of July 3, 2014, Medicare approved the device for a long time patient of Dr. Mark Gudesblatt here on Long Island. This patient had already been working with the device in a clinical setting for a number of years and could not wait to be able to use it at home. The ReWalk doesn’t only provide more freedom but “study data… indicates potential improvements in cardiovascular health, loss of fat tissue, building of lean muscle mass, and improved bowel function” all concerns that are associated with people who live most of their lives in a seated position [2]. For more information about the device visit: http://rewalk.com

References

[1] US Food and Drug Administration , "News & Events," 26 June 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm402970.htm. [Accessed 2 July 2014].
[2] Argo Medical Technologies , "ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use," Argo Medical Technologies , 26 June 2014. [Online]. Available: http://rewalk.com/news/press-release/rewalk-personal-exoskeleton-system-cleared-by-fda-for-home-use/. [Accessed 3 July 2014].
[3] Y. Segev, "Rewalk : One Small Step for a Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind," 2 May 2013. [Online]. Available: http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2013/05/02/rewalk-one-small-step-for-a-man-one-giant-leap-for-mankind-neil-armstrong/. [Accessed 7 July 2014].

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