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

Methodist Neurological Institute, Houston, Texas, USA.
Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 1.45). 05/2011; 18(3):269-76. DOI: 10.1310/tsr1803-269
Source: PubMed


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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    • "The first type involves an exoskeleton (e.g. Lokomat [14], LOPES, ALEX [15], and AutoAmbulator [16]), which has leg joints that match those of the patient’s legs and are positioned next to them. Actuators placed at the joints of the robot control joint motions to mimic normal walking patterns, and allow the patient’s joints to move in synchronization with the robot’s motion. "
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