RESEARCH AND REHABILITATION
CETRI's fundamental goal is to help survivors of electrical shock injury achieve successful recovery through research development and multidisciplinary care.
CETRI was established to support the expansion of a longstanding multi-institutional research and medical care collaboration. In this 25 year period, CETRI has collected medical records for more than 500 electrical injury (EI) patients. We use this to guide our research and to refine how we approach medical management of EI patients.
Our clinical program is designed to account for the uniqueness of electrical injuries. Due to the nature of electrical shocks, these injuries tend to be complex and affect more than one physiological system. We collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of specialists from leading medical institutions in the Chicago area.
Medical Record Review
The first step in the program is a medical record review. Each electrical injury is unique and will manifest differently from one patient to the next. The medical record review is an opportunity for our team to tailor the program to each patient's needs. In addition to reviewing the circumstances under which the incident occurred, our team will assess the current presentation of each patient as well as any prior testing that has been performed. Using this information, we determine the specific examinations needed to properly assess each patient.
After the review is complete, CETRI will enroll appropriate patients for multidisciplinary team evaluation. The process typically entails several days of intensive testing. We will take care of scheduling all of the appointments. Because CETRI is the first and only multidisciplinary clinical research program for the treatment of electrical injury survivors, many of our patients are not local to the Chicago area. We do our best to ensure that all of the appointments are scheduled in the same week to minimize travel.
Week of evaluations
After the review is complete, CETRI will enroll appropriate patients for multidisciplinary team evaluation. All of the appointments take place at our collaborating medical centers in Chicago. Because CETRI is the first and only multidisciplinary clinical research program for the treatment of electrical injury survivors, many of our patients travel to get here. With this in mind, we schedule all of the appointments to occur in the same week.
This evaluation typically entails several days of intensive testing. Following the evaluations, our team will generate a comprehensive report with their collective assessments, diagnoses, and recommendations. To allow sufficient time for our team members to collaborate, it usually takes approximately 8-12 weeks for the report to be prepared. Our program is designed to help facilitate the ongoing care of our patients even if they are not local to the area. To this end, we are happy to provide a copy of our final report to our patient's Primary Care Physician so that it can be used as a guide for the patient's long-term care.
CLINICAL PROGRAM ELECTRICAL INJURY REHABILITATION
CETRI's fundamental goal is to help survivors of electrical shock injury achieve successful recovery following electrical shock injury. It is well established now that the extent of disability resulting from electrical shock cannot be determined by the size of the skin contact burn. Because the nerves and muscles in the current path can be instantly damaged by electrical shock current, nerve and muscle injury are often the most challenging barrier to rehabilitation for these patients.
The human nervous system, both peripheral and central, is a highly interconnected system that maintains the body's posture, balance, and coordination. Injury to a part of the nervous system commonly results in generalized manifestations, even in parts that seem functionally independent. Disruption of the body's balance and coordination can lead to persistent pain resulting in neuropsychological problems. Depending on the type of electrical injury, often patients will report impaired memory function, loss of skin sensation, tingling, pain, disturbed sleep patterns, and nerve damage.
CETRI's clinicians perform thorough testing and examination of neuromuscular function. If abnormalities exist, then a high priority is placed on appropriate physical therapy to recover neuromuscular coordination. As observed in survivors of non-electrical injuries, early and aggressive physical therapy intervention and managing metabolic factors appear to produce the best results. Determining optimal rehabilitation strategies remains a priority for CETRI's research.