Design and Construction of Thermally Combined Microcurrent Electrical Therapy Device as Preliminary Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Design and Construction of Thermally Combined Microcurrent Electrical Therapy Device as Preliminary Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

Yuda G. Hadiprodjo (Swiss German University, BSD City, Tangerang, Java, Indonesia), Aulia A. Iskandar (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Life Sciences, Swiss German University, BSD City, Tangerang, Java, Indonesia) and Tutun Nugraha (Swiss German University, BSD City, Tangerang, Java, Indonesia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jehmc.2013070104
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Abstract

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that destructs the cartilage within joints. Even though RA cannot be cured, its progress can be slowed and its symptoms can be managed by applying microcurrent and thermal therapy to enhance the healing process of the joints. This research aims to combine two different therapeutic modalities: Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) and thermal therapy, which will be called as Thermally combined Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (T-MET) device. For MET, the resulted output was square wave with fix 50% duty cycle, adjustable frequency (0.31 – 100Hz), and adjustable current amplitude (36 - 466µA). For thermal therapy, two different modes were provided: heating mode (up to 40°C) and cooling mode (up to 15°C). The test was done three times. It took 30 minutes and 105.8 minutes to reach the upper and lower limit temperature respectively. T-MET device had been designed and constructed. However, clinical trials to RA patient needs to be further investigated.
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1. Introduction

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory polyarthritis, which mostly affects hands and feet, although may also affect other joints such as the wrist, shoulder, knee, and hip. This condition can lead to swelling, tenderness, and warmth of the joints. In addition to causing a great deal of pain, RA also causes significant disability, or even worse, shortens life expectancy by about 10 years (Weaver, 2004). RA is also considered as one of the most common forms of autoimmune diseases, affecting about two to four times as many women as men (Lee & Weinblatt, 2001). Only 30% of the causes of RA can be attributed to genetic factors, the rest remains unknown even though the cases are far reaching and date back thousands of years (Alarcon, 1995).

RA affects about 0.5% - 1% of the adult population worldwide (Silman & Pearson, 2002). However, it is much more common in Native Americans (affecting over 5%) and less common in African and Asian people (The Patient Experience, 2012). In 2010, there were approximately 4.6 million people with RA in the seven major markets (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK). More than half (2.6 million) of the case were in the US alone (The Patient Experience, 2012). In Indonesia (1992), there were 0.2% of RA cases in rural areas and 0.3% in urban areas (Darmawan, Muirden, Valkenburg & Wigley, 1993). The number of cases were relatively the same as in some other Asian countries such as the Philippines - 0.17% in 1997 (Dans, Tankeh-Torres, Amante & Penserga, 1997), Thailand - 0.12% in 1998 (Chaiamnuay, Darmawan, Muirden & Assawatanabodee, 1998), India - 0.5% in 2001 (Chopra, Patil, Billempelly, Relwani & Tandle, 2001), Vietnam - 0.28% in 2003 (Minh Hoa, Darmawan, Chen, Van Hung, Thi Nhi & Ngoc An, 2003), and China - 0.2%-0.37% in 2008 (Zeng, Chen, Darmawan, Xiao, Chen, Wigley, Chen & Zhang, 2008). RA is also considered as one of the most common forms of autoimmune diseases which affects about two to four times as many women as men (Lee & Weinblatt, 2001).

Nowadays, there are many different options for treating RA. Two non-invasive therapeutic procedures which are widely available in the markets include stimulation by Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) device and thermal therapy (either hot or cold pack). Combining those two non-invasive therapies, called as Thermally combined Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (T-MET) device, is the aim of this research. However, T-MET device is not yet tested in RA patients due to lack of permit in testing the medical equipment. This research focuses on designing, constructing, and testing the outputs of T-MET device.

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