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Postoperative patients are often too fatigued to walk around and often lay in bed for extended periods of time. This could lead to the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a condition where blood accumulates in the veins instead of being pushed back to the heart. This can cause the formation of blood clots that can eventually lead to pulmonary embolism resulting in death. DVT is a condition that affects about 900,000 people in the United States. Since it is such a prevalent condition, it is important to develop methods of prevention for this condition.

The aim of this project is to construct a device that will prevent DVT using dorsiflexion of the foot. Currently, the major solution for this problem in postoperative patients is having the patient move around sooner. However, some patients are unable to do this, so this device will be especially influential for these patients. A current medical solution for this problem is the use of anticoagulants which prevent the formation of blood clots by thinning the blood and allowing for better flow. However, this solution is not always feasible with every patient. Another solution for DVT is the use of massagers that are activated when the muscle does not contract enough. The aim of the massager is to physically get the blood moving back towards the heart.

The aim of this project was to create a device that dorsiflexes the foot thereby creating the muscle contraction required. The functional prototype includes a motor and a pulley system that help in raising a platform to create the dorsiflexion. The device implements the use of a microcontroller and a circuit in order to have automatic movement. The total cost for the prototype was around $400. However, this cost could be significantly reduced. A major cost was the cost of construction by the metal shop, reducing this cost could lower the total cost to about $300 or less. This device can be really beneficial in hospitals and also has applications outside of the hospital in residential settings. There is definitely great commercial potential for this product because it is a better alternative to the current solutions.

Publication Date



biomedical engineering, DVT, dorsifexion


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Fei

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

Improved Device for Passive Foot Dorsiflexion for Prevention of DVT