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VA research in action

The LUKE/DEKA advanced prosthetic arm

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Photo by Kimberly DiDonato

VA researchers were integral in testing and optimizing the LUKE/DEKA advanced prosthetic arm, and Veterans are now receiving the device.

The arm was developed by DEKA Integrated Solutions Corp. It is the first prosthetic arm capable of performing multiple simultaneous powered movements. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) funded the project. As the clinical research partner with DARPA, VA contributed funding and eight years of research participating in the development of the prosthetic arm. The FDA approved the DEKA Arm in May 2014, paving the way for the device to be manufactured, marketed, and made available in the VA health system and other settings. The DEKA Arm is now available commercially as the LUKE Arm, manufactured by Mobius Bionics.

In a 2014 study led by researchers from the Providence VA Medical Center and Brown University, 24 upper-limb amputees were fitted with a second-generation DEKA arm, and 13 were fitted with a third-generation arm. After being trained on its use, they were surveyed about their experiences.

In all, 79 percent of Gen 2 and 85 percent of Gen 3 users indicated that they either wanted to receive, or might want to receive, a DEKA arm. In addition, 95 percent of Gen 2 users and 91 percent of Gen 3 users indicated that they were able to perform new activities they had been unable to perform with their existing prosthetic device.

In June 2017, two Veterans with arm amputations became the first to receive new generation LUKE arms. In February 2018, U.S. Air Force Veteran Ron Currier became the first person to be fitted with two LUKE Arms.

Principal investigators: Linda Resnik; Providence VA Medical Center

Selected publications:

Resnik L, Latlief G, Klinger SL, Sasson N, Walters LS. Do users want to receive a DEKA Arm and why? Overall findings from the Veterans Affairs Study to optimize the DEKA Arm. Prosthet Orthot Int. 2014 Dec;38(6):456-66.

Resnik L, Acluche F, Lieberman Klinger S, Borgia M. Does the DEKA Arm substitute for or supplement conventional prostheses. Prosthet Orthot Int. 2017 Sep 1. Epub ahead of print.

Research partnerships: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), DEKA Integrated Solutions Corporation


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