Heated Vest for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

Heated Vest for Persons With Spinal Cord Injury

Persons with higher levels of spinal cord injury (above the 2nd thoracic vertebrae; tetraplegia) are unable to maintain normal core body temperature (Tcore) when exposed to cool environments. In persons with tetraplegia, even limited exposure to cool temperatures may cause Tcore to approach hypothermic values and impair cognitive performance. Conversely, an increase in Tcore from subnormal to normal range may improve cognitive performance. Prior work has shown that cool seasonal temperatures have an adverse effect on personal comfort and the ability to perform vital daily activities of self-care in persons with tetraplegia. Interventions that address the vulnerability to hypothermia are limited. A self-regulating heated vest designed specifically for persons with tetraplegia is a novel and promising strategy to address this problem. By more effectively maintaining Tcore, the vest can decrease the adverse impact of cool temperatures on comfort, quality of life, and performance of vital daily tasks for Veterans with tetraplegia during the cooler seasons.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Device - Heated Vest

Heated vest that regulates its heat output based on the user's skin, the user's core temperature, and the ambient temperature

Device - Non-Heated Vest

A similarly insulated (compared to the experimental vest), but non-heated vest

Developing a Feedback-Controlled Heated Vest to Address Thermoregulatory Dysfunction in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury