Robot-aided exercise therapy
is a promising approach to enhance walking ability in stroke
survivors. This study was designed to test a new robotic knee brace for restoring mobility in stroke
Twenty-four ambulatory individuals with chronic hemiparesis
were enrolled in this pilot study. The participants were randomly assigned in equal numbers to either treatment with the experimental device or to a group exercise program and received a total of 18 hrs of their assigned therapy during a 6-wk training period. The primary outcome was gait
velocity, as measured with the 10-m walk test. Secondary measures included 6-min walk test, Timed Up and Go test, Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand test, Romberg test, Emory Functional Ambulation Profile, Berg Balance scale, and the California Functional Evaluation 40.
Twenty subjects completed the entire protocol and all follow-up visits. No significant differences between the two groups were found for the primary outcome measure at either the completion of training (week 6) or at the 3-mo follow-up (week 19), with inconsistent findings for secondary measures. No within-group changes were seen in the primary outcome measure (10-m walk test) in either group. Within-group improvements were seen in several of the secondary measures for both groups. No complications of robotic therapy were observed.
Robotic therapy for ambulatory stroke
patients with chronic hemiparesis
using a robotic knee brace resulted in only modest functional benefits that were comparable with a group exercise intervention.