The Myosuit developed by the Zurich-based MedTech firm MyoSwiss is to undergo a feasibility study carried out by the German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB), which will aim to clarify whether and how the Myosuit exoskeleton can be gainfully used to benefit patients suffering from advanced cardiopulmonary diseases. MyoSwiss provided details of this in a press release.
Following this, the doctors are planning a prospective study with patients suffering from severe heart failure. In so doing, the training results of a test group undergoing conventional outpatient physiotherapy will be compared with those from a group that used Myosuits.
Because of breathing difficulties and exhaustion, the patients often end up suffering from muscle wastage, resulting in increased loss of resilience and weight gain further down the line. Ultimately, the disease can then progress to heart failure. The Myosuit is designed to break this vicious circle. The exoskeleton is placed over the clothing, using motion sensors on the torso and legs. Electric motors housed in a small rucksack use cables to support the flexion and extension of the hip and knee joints, making muscle work easier in the process.
“We not only hope that using the Myosuit will have a positive impact on the progression of chronic heart failure in a narrower sense, but also that it will lead a general increase in quality of life by offering improved mobility and therefore social activity”, comments Felix Schönratz, head of the cardiology program for heart failure and heart transplants at the DHZB, in the press release.
Teams headed up by Volkmar Falk, Medical Director of the DZHB, and robotics expert Robert Riener have been cooperating for this project. Riener is a Professor for Sensorimotor Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). The department is supported by the ETH+ funding scheme and its ETHeart initiative operated by ETH Zurich.