Master thesis presentation – Developing and testing of an electronic data collection system for the treatment of phantom limb pain

Presented by Rannveig Ása Guðmundsdóttir

Date:  Tuesday, May 13th.

Time: 10.00 am

Location:  Landahlsrummet (room 7430), Hörsalsvägen 9, 7th floor, Chalmers

Examiner:  Sabine Reinfeldt

Following an amputation, a phantom phenomenon is normally felt in the missing limb. This phenomenon can be of painful nature and is called phantom limb pain (PLP). PLP is reported by approximately 70% of all amputees and is extremely difficult to treat. Recent developments have introduced a new rehabilitation treatment based on the promotion of motor execution via Augmented Reality (AR) and gaming, while the source of control are phantom motions that are predicted using myoelectric pattern recognition (MPR).

Chronic PLP patients experience pain with great complexity, which cannot be evaluated in a single point in time due to the fluctuations on pain intensity over variable periods. Pain intensity, frequency, and location are key variables in chronic PLP that are rarely monitored together. Consequently, it is difficult to measure pain over time and evaluate if treatments are relieving it. To date, there is no validated pain questionnaire available for pain tracking and reporting that captures all the complexity of chronic PLP.

 This thesis investigates and evaluates how pain is currently reported in order to develop a user friendly questionnaire that captures all different aspects of chronic PLP. A subject with PLP is currently being treated with the new MPR/AR-VR/Gaming software developed at Chalmers University of Technology, the Centre of Orthopaedic Osseointegration at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and Integrum AB. The subject is treated approximately once a week and additionally responding the prototype questionnaires developed in this work for evaluation and feedback.

 A new PLP tracking questionnaire was developed and tested using the feedback from the subject with the aim to be used in a clinical trial for the new PLP treatment. The subject was able to do the questionnaire by himself in both English and Swedish, and the approximate time of answering was 20 minutes. The questionnaire was reported as easy to follow and understandable. Furthermore, stand-alone software was programmed in C# in order to make the pain tracking and reporting simple and user friendly for clinicians and patients. Future work will consist in testing the proposed questionnaire with other subjects and compare it with other validated pain measures to confirm its reliability and validity. Furthermore, the goal is to combine the proposed PLP tracking software with the new MPR/AR-VR/Gaming software developed for treatment of PLP.