Emily Sanders, Briley Lawson, Jeremiah G. Lukers. Truett McConnell University, Cleveland, GA.

BACKGROUND: Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training in combination has shown to correlate improved muscle hypertrophy with rehabilitation exercises. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effects of BFR incorporation to a patient’s anterior crucial ligament (ACL) reconstruction rehabilitation and muscle hypertrophy compared to a non-injured athlete in the same sport over five (n=5) weeks. METHODS: Two (n=2) athletes volunteered for the study. One athlete had ACL surgery while the other subject was healthy. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Truett McConnell University and the operating orthopedic surgeon. Measurements for the study assessed quadriceps muscle mass, lower body lean muscle mass (LMM), and patient-reported outcomes (PROs). A tape measure (Patterson Medical, IL, USA) assessed quadriceps muscle girth 10.2 and 15.2 cm above the patella. The InBody 770 (Seoul, SK) assessed overall and lean muscle mass differences. The 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12) and the Lower Extremity Function Survey (LEFS) were used to assess mental health, physical health, and patient perception of improvement in the knee. BFR (Owens Recovery Science, TX, USA) Personal Tourniquet System (PTS) (Delfi, Vancouver, CA) followed lower body PTS protocols of 5-6 exercises per therapy session for 2-3 times per week. BFR protocol consisted of 20-30% of 1-repetition max (1-RM) of 80% limb occlusion pressure (LOP) at the thigh below the groin. Sets consisted of 30/15/15/15 repetitions with 30 seconds rest between sets. RESULTS: In the ACL patient, right leg LMM began at 6.55 kilograms (kg) and increased to 6.81 kg. Right leg circumference increased by 4 cm and 3.1cm at 10cm and 15 cm above the patella respectively. The SF-12 physical and mental health scores improved from 35 to 53 and 54 to 58 (the US average is 50 is for both mental and physical heath). The LEFS improved by 17% points. In the healthy athlete, right leg LMM was 7.67 kg at baseline and increased to 7.86 kg. Right leg circumference increased by 2.8 cm and 2.5 cm at 10 cm and 15 cm above the patella respectively. SF-12 and LEFS scores improved minimally. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the comparative case study, BFR therapy can increase the rate of muscle hypertrophy in the body and improve patient outcomes in injured athletes and maintain LMM needed for sports performance.

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