Comparative effectiveness of electric vacuum pumps for creating suspension in transfemoral sockets

Matthew Justin Major*, Ryan Caldwell, Stefania Fatone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is increasing evidence to support the benefits of vacuum-assisted suspension (VAS) as a means of securing lower-limb prosthetic sockets to the residual limb. As use of VAS increases, there is need to assess comparative effectiveness of different vacuum pumps. This study conducted in vivo tests to evaluate the effectiveness of two commercial electric pumps, the Ohio Willow Wood LimbLogic and Otto Bock Harmony e-pulse, in transfemoral sockets. Materials and Methods: Tests evaluated (1) the rate and time of evacuation for each pump to achieve a clinically recommended socket-liner interface pressure of 17 in-Hg below atmospheric pressure while 18 subjects stood quietly and (2) the number of times each pump reactivated during 10 minutes of treadmill walking by 9 subjects to reestablish 17 in-Hg below atmospheric pressure after initial evacuation. Results: During quiet standing, each pump displayed an S-shape temporal profile of vacuum pressure until 17 in-Hg below atmospheric pressure was achieved. Across participants, the LimbLogic pulled vacuum at a faster rate than the e-pulse (62 vs. 39 in-Hg/min) and required less time to achieve the desired pressure (22 vs. 27 seconds). However, the LimbLogic reactivated once during walking to account for vacuum leakage, whereas the e-pulse did not reactivate. Conclusions: The small differences in outcome metrics between pumps suggests that they were comparable in terms of effectiveness for creating and maintaining VAS of transfemoral sockets. This study describes simple methods that can be used in future studies when comparing electric vacuum pump performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Prosthesis
  • Socket
  • Suspension
  • Vacuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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