Methods for characterization of mechanical and electrical prosthetic vacuum pumps

Oluseeni Komolafe, Sean Wood, Ryan Caldwell, Andrew Hansen, Stefania Fatone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Despite increasingly widespread adoption of vacuum- assisted suspension systems in prosthetic clinical practices, there remain gaps in the body of scientific knowledge guiding clinicians' choices of existing products. In this study, we identified important pump-performance metrics and developed techniques to objectively characterize the evacuation performance of prosthetic vacuum pumps. The sensitivity of the proposed techniques was assessed by characterizing the evacuation performance of two electrical (Harmony e-Pulse [Ottobock; Duderstadt, Germany] and LimbLogic VS [Ohio Willow Wood; Mt. Sterling, Ohio]) and three mechanical (Harmony P2, Harmony HD, and Harmony P3 [Ottobock]) prosthetic pumps in bench-top testing. Five fixed volume chambers ranging from 33 cm3 (2 in.3) to 197 cm3 (12 in.3) were used to represent different air volume spaces between a prosthetic socket and a liner-clad residual limb. All measurements were obtained at a vacuum gauge pressure of 57.6 kPa (17 inHg). The proposed techniques demonstrated sensitivity to the different electrical and mechanical pumps and, to a lesser degree, to the different setting adjustments of each pump. The sensitivity was less pronounced for the mechanical pumps, and future improvements for testing of mechanical vacuum pumps were proposed. Overall, this study successfully offers techniques feasible as standards for assessing the evacuation performance of prosthetic vacuum pump devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1078
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Electrical prosthetic pump
  • Elevated vacuum
  • Mechanical prosthetic pump
  • Negative pressure
  • Prosthetic pump
  • Prosthetic pump performance
  • Prosthetic vacuum
  • Socket evacuation
  • Vacuum assisted suspension
  • Vacuum pump


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