Intramuscular hand neuroprosthesis for chronic stroke survivors.
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The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of a percutaneous hand neuroprosthesis system for stroke survivors. Case reports of 4 chronic stroke survivors who were implanted with percutaneous intramuscular electrodes in various muscles of the forearm for hand grasp and release are presented. A percutaneous hand neuroprosthesis was able to open a spastic hemiparetic hand as long as the upper limb was in a resting position, the wrist and proximal forearm were supported, participants did not try to assist the stimulation, and an individual other than the participant modulated the stimulation. However, when participants tried to assist the stimulation or complete a functional task, hand opening was significantly reduced due to increased finger flexor hypertonia, even with increased stimulation intensity. Similarly, electrically stimulated hand opening was significantly reduced following voluntary hand closure. Techniques that provide real-time modulation of hypertonia with closed loop control, control strategies that are independent of the contralateral limb, and methods to enhance proximal control must be developed to demonstrate the feasibility of a hand neuroprosthesis system for persons with hemiparesis.