How Can Personalized Tourniquet Systems Accelerate Rehabilitation of Wounded Warriors, Professional Athletes and Orthopaedic Patients?

  • Jim A. McEwen University of British Columbia, Western Clinical Engineering Ltd.
  • Jeswin Jeyasurya Western Clinical Engineering Ltd.
  • Johnny Owens Owens Recovery Science, San Antonio Military Medical Center


Rehabilitation of wounded warriors, professional athletes and orthopaedic patients has profound health, economic, psychological, and social implications. This has motivated development and investigation of a new technique, Personalized Blood Flow Restriction Training (PBFRT), which may substantially reduce recovery time and improve rehabilitation. PBFRT involves exercising well below maximum intensity using an optimal personalized restrictive pressure (PRP) in a tourniquet cuff encircling a limb, for brief and repeated exercise periods according to a rehabilitation protocol. Although the exact mechanism is not fully understood, many studies have shown beneficial effects of blood flow restricted training on skeletal muscle strength and hypertrophy, and preliminary evidence suggests it may also promote bone formation. Advances in the development of modern tourniquet systems made within our group in Canada allow PBFRT to be performed with optimal safety and repeatability, establishing a PRP that automatically accounts for important variables including individual limb shape and size, muscle tone, blood pressure, gender, race, tourniquet cuff characteristics and application technique.