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Comparing Outcomes of Elbow Extension Tendon Transfers

This study has been completed.
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Northwestern University
Case Western Reserve University
Loyola University
MetroHealth System - Cleveland, OH
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: September 15, 2010
Last updated: February 8, 2016
Last verified: February 2016
Active elbow extension has significant functional benefits for individuals with tetraplegia. The proposed work will provide information to assess how effectively people are using their elbow extension tendon transfers, and whether one surgery works more effectively than the other. This study will provide recommendations to clinicians about the possibility of improving function after surgery using rehab techniques.

Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Retrospective
Official Title: A Comparison of Two Surgical Procedures That Restore Elbow Extension

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Elbow Extension Strength [ Time Frame: At least one year post surgery ]
    Elbow extension strength was measured as the maximum elbow extension moment that subject's could generate. We used an elbow moment transducer to measure elbow moments under isometric (no change in arm posture) conditions. Subjects performed three trials at maximum effort, holding maximum elbow extension for 5 to 7 seconds. The maximum moment was computed as the maximum average moment sustained over a 0.5 second window.

Enrollment: 14
Study Start Date: August 2011
Study Completion Date: December 2015
Primary Completion Date: December 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Group 1
Subjects with posterior deltoid-to-triceps tendon transfers
Group 2
Subjects with biceps-to-triceps tendon transfers
Group 3
Subjects with cervical SCI who have not had tendon transfers
Group 4
Unimpaired control subjects

Detailed Description:

Voluntary control of elbow extension significantly improves functional abilities for individuals with tetraplegia. As a result, surgical reconstruction of elbow extension via tendon transfer is considered a fundamental intervention that benefits the patient, even if other tendon transfers aimed at improving hand function are never performed. Presently, there are two common tendon transfer surgeries used to restore elbow extension following spinal cord injury. These are the posterior deltoid to triceps transfer and the biceps to triceps transfer. Both surgeries significantly improve voluntary elbow extension, although there is variability in the amount of control that is restored among patients. This study will directly compare the performance of the posterior deltoid transfer to the biceps transfer with regard to: voluntary elbow extension strength, the ability to activate the transfer, and neural factors associated with voluntary and involuntary control of individual muscles. These comparisons will be made in functionally relevant postures and will provide fundamental information that will improve clinical understanding of the capacity of each of these two procedures to restore elbow extension.

The fundamental hypothesis of this proposal is that an inability to maximally activate the transferred posterior deltoid and the transferred biceps significantly limits the elbow extension moment that can be produced.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Three groups of subjects will be recruited to participate in the experiments: individuals that have had the posterior deltoid to triceps tendon transfer, individuals that have the biceps to triceps tendon transfer, and individuals with SCI between C5-C7 who have not had tendon transfers. Nominally, we plan to recruit 15 subjects from each group.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (C5-C7)
  • Posterior Deltoid to Triceps Tendon Transfer at least one year post-surgery
  • Biceps to Triceps Tendon Transfer at least one year post-surgery

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Subjects will be excluded from the studies if there is presence of concurrent severe medical illness, including:

    • unhealed decubiti
    • use of baclofen pumps
    • existing infection
    • cardiovascular disease
    • significant osteoporosis (as indicated by a history of fractures following injury)
    • or a history of pulmonary complications or autonomic dysreflexia
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01204736

United States, Illinois
Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL
Hines, Illinois, United States, 60141-5000
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Northwestern University
Case Western Reserve University
Loyola University
MetroHealth System - Cleveland, OH
Principal Investigator: Wendy M Murray, PhD Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01204736     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: B7515-R
Study First Received: September 15, 2010
Results First Received: December 2, 2015
Last Updated: February 8, 2016

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
tendon transfer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal Cord Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Trauma, Nervous System
Wounds and Injuries processed this record on May 25, 2017