Feasibility and outcomes of supplemental gait training by robotic and conventional means in acute stroke rehabilitation

Mukul Talaty, Alberto Esquenazi

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Introduction: Practicality of implementation and dosing of supplemental gait training in an acute stroke inpatient rehabilitation setting are not well studied but can have positive impact on outcomes. Objectives: To determine the feasibility of early, intense supplemental gait training in inpatient stroke rehabilitation, compare functional outcomes and the specific mode of delivery. Design and setting: Assessor blinded, randomized controlled trial in a tertiary Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility. Participants: Thirty acute post-stroke patients with unilateral hemiparesis (≥ 18 years of age with a lower limb MAS ≤ 3). Intervention: Lokomat® or conventional gait training (CGT) in addition to standard mandated therapy time. Main outcome measures: Number of therapy sessions; adverse events; functional independence measure (FIM motor); functional ambulation category (FAC); passive range of motion (PROM); modified Ashworth scale (MAS); 5 times sit-to-stand (5x-STS); 10-m walk test (10MWT); 2-min walk test (2MWT) were assessed before (pre) and after training (post). Results: The desired supplemental therapy was implemented during normal care delivery hours and the patients generally tolerated the sessions well. Both groups improved markedly on several measures; the CGT group obtained nearly 45% more supplemental sessions (12.8) than the Lokomat® group (8.9). Both groups showed greater FIM improvement scores (discharge – admission) than those from a reference group receiving no supplemental therapy. An overarching statistical comparison between methods was skewed towards a differential benefit (but not significant) in the Lokomat® group with medium effect sizes. By observation, the robotic group completed a greater number of steps, on average. These results provide some evidence for Lokomat® being a more efficient tool for gait retraining by providing a more optimal therapy “dose”. Conclusions: With careful planning, supplemental therapy was possible with minimal intrusion to schedules and was well tolerated. Participants showed meaningful functional improvement with relatively little supplemental therapy over a relatively short time in study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics

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