The goals of this pilot study were to quantify the clinical benefits of using the Hand Exoskeleton Rehabilitation Robot for hand rehabilitation after stroke and to determine the population best served by this intervention.
Nine subjects with chronic stroke (one excluded from analysis) completed 18 sessions of training with the Hand Exoskeleton Rehabilitation Robot and a preevaluation, a postevaluation, and a 90-day clinical evaluation.
Overall, the subjects improved in both range of motion and clinical measures. Compared with the preevaluation, the subjects showed significant improvements in range of motion, grip strength, and the hand component of the Fugl-Meyer (mean changes, 6.60 degrees, 8.84 percentage points, and 1.86 points, respectively). A subgroup of six subjects exhibited lower tone and received a higher dosage of training. These subjects had significant gains in grip strength, the hand component of the Fugl-Meyer, and the Action Research Arm Test (mean changes, 8.42 percentage points, 2.17 points, and 2.33 points, respectively).
Future work is needed to better manage higher levels of hypertonia and provide more support to subjects with higher impairment levels; however, the current results support further study into the Hand Exoskeleton Rehabilitation Robot treatment.
From the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (SBG, PSL); Research Division, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC (RJH, PSL); and Department of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy (SBG).
All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Peter Lum, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, Pangborn Hall, Room 131, 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20064.
Funded by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (W81XWH-05-1-0160) and the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program.
Presented in part at the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference 2010 and at the first author’s dissertation.
Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.