Palm Device Monitors Recovery After Knee Replacement

Device provides clinicians real-time data on patient pain, mobility, and functionality

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Use of Palm electronic technology by patients to record pain, mobility, and functionality improvement after knee replacement surgery provides clinicians with a real-time method to monitor patient recovery, according to a study published in a supplement to the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Steven R. Tippett, Ph.D., P.T., of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and colleagues outfitted 93 patients who underwent bilateral knee replacement with Palm devices (Palm m500) for the patients to use to complete and upload daily electronic questionnaires over a six-week period. The questionnaire asked about pain severity and location, pain management, mobility, and daily activities. The Palm data was used to map pain trends and track improvements in mobility and functionality.

The researchers found that anterior knee pain persisted the longest, while thigh, calf, and posterior knee pain decreased. Low back pain and hip pain did not change appreciably. As patient mobility improved, the use of walkers decreased steadily, so that, at six weeks, only 14 percent of patients still used a walker. Six months after surgery, more than 60 percent of patients said their level of satisfaction did not match preoperative expectations for certain daily activities, such as kneeling, squatting, climbing/descending stairs, or getting up from a chair or toilet.

"Most importantly, the current study gives the health care provider a detailed look at the recovery of function from the patient's perspective, which may prove useful in the preoperative education of patients who are considering having bilateral total knee arthroplasty," the authors write.

Three of the study authors are employees of DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

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