Robot-Assisted Gait Training for Patients with Hemiparesis Due to Stroke

Methodist Neurological Institute, Houston, Texas, USA.
Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 1.22). 05/2011; 18(3):269-76. DOI: 10.1310/tsr1803-269
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Robot-assisted devices are becoming a popular alternative to manual facilitation in stroke rehabilitation. These devices have the potential to reduce therapist burden and treatment costs; however, their effectiveness in terms of functional recovery remains in question. This pilot study compared the outcomes of a stroke rehabilitation program that incorporates robot-assisted gait training (RAGT) with a more traditional therapy program that does not. Twenty hemiparetic stroke patients were recruited at a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, Texas, and were randomly assigned to 2 groups. The control group (n = 10) received 24 1-hour sessions of conventional physical therapy, whereas the RAGT group (n = 10) received 24 1-hour sessions of conventional physical therapy combined with RAGT on a treadmill. Gait function was assessed before and after treatment by an 8-m walk test, a 3-minute walk test, and the Tinetti balance assessment. Both groups showed significant improvement in all 3 outcome measures following treatment (P < .05), but there was no difference between groups. It is concluded that RAGT may provide improvements in balance and gait comparable with conventional physical therapy. A larger multicenter trial is required to investigate the effectiveness of RAGT in hemiparetic stroke.

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