One hundred and twenty persons with new onset traumatic tetraplegia consecutively admitted to our rehabilitation service were screened for consideration for use of an upper extremity neuroprosthesis. Strict inclusion criteria allowed only for participation of patients with ASIA impairment scale A, B or C injuries at the C5 or C6 level. One hundred and six persons were excluded from participation for the following reasons: five patients died, 27 had central cord syndrome, two had Brown-Sequard syndrome, 12 were injured at too high a level, 42 were injured at too low a level, two were excluded on the basis of motor incompleteness alone, four were excessively denervated, two had limited range of motion, one had overriding medical complications, seven had psychosocial issues making participation impractical, and two elected tendon transfer surgery. In total, 14 patients (representing 11.7% of all tetraplegic individuals and 50% of the C5 or C6 ASIA Impairment Scale A, B or C patients) were found to be candidates for the neuroprosthesis. Given the prevalence of tetraplegia, approximately 12,200 Americans would be candidates for the FES neuroprosthetic hand grasp system under the current research protocols. With both the expansion of current protocols to other diagnostic categories and further research and development, application of this neuroprosthesis to a considerable number of previously excluded subjects will likely be possible.
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