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Gait training of poststroke patients assisted by the Walkaround (body postural support)

Dragin, Aleksandra S.a,c; Konstantinović, Ljubica M.a,c; Veg, Aleksandarb; Schwirtlich, Laszlo B.c

International Journal of Rehabilitation Research: March 2014 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p 22–28
doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e328363ba30
Original articles

Improvement in gait abilities is one of the important goals of stroke rehabilitation. The Walkaround is a new postural assistance device for gait training, which allows an early start for gait training. This device provides body postural support (BPS) and trunk orientation by means of a lumbar belt that is connected to a powered rolling walker. We conducted a randomized, single-blinded, 4-week clinical trial of 22 subacute stroke patients with a follow-up period of 6 months. Patients were divided into two identically sized groups: the treatment group (BPS), which was assisted by the Walkaround, and the control (CON) group, which was assisted by conventional means (cane, therapist) during gait training. The objective of the study was to assess whether the Walkaround is more effective than conventional assistance during gait training. The outcome measures were as follows: Barthel index, Fugl-Meyer score for the lower extremities, Berg balance test, and gait speed. Changes in the outcome measures were significant for the Berg balance score after 6 months in both groups and in gait speed among the BPS group at the end of therapy and after 6 months (P<0.05) compared with the same outcome measures at the beginning of the trial. Significant differences were found in gait speed and Berg balance test scores after 4 weeks and in gait speed after 6 months (P<0.05) between the BPS and the CON groups. The results suggest that added postural support by the Walkaround led to limited yet significant changes in gait speed and balance control.

aDepartment of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade

bFaculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade

cDepartment of Neurological Rehabilitation, Dr Miroslav Zotović Clinic for Rehabilitation, Belgrade, Serbia

Correspondence to Aleksandra S. Dragin, MD, Dr Miroslav Zotović Clinic for Rehabilitation, Belgrade, Serbia Tel: +381 11 2062500, +381 64 1305713; fax: +381 11 2667 623; e-mail: aldragin@gmail.com

Received March 9, 2013

Accepted May 27, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins