Overground walking training with the i-Walker, a robotic servo-assistive device, enhances balance in patients with subacute stroke: a randomized controlled trial
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Background: Patients affected by mild stroke benefit more from physiological overground walking training than walking-like training performed in place using specific devices. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of overground robotic walking training performed with the servo-assistive robotic rollator (i-Walker) on walking, balance, gait stability and falls in a community setting in patients with mild subacute stroke. Methods: Forty-four patients were randomly assigned to two different groups that received the same therapy in two daily 40-min sessions 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Twenty sessions of standard therapy were performed by both groups. In the other 20 sessions the subjects enrolled in the i-Walker-Group (iWG) performed with the i-Walker and the Control-Group patients (CG) performed the same amount of conventional walking oriented therapy. Clinical and instrumented gait assessments were made pre- and post-treatment. The follow-up observation consisted of recording the number of fallers in the community setting after 6 months. Results: Treatment effectiveness was higher in the iWG group in terms of balance improvement (Tinetti: 68.4 ± 27.6 % vs. 48.1 ± 33.9 %, p= 0.033) and 10-m and 6-min timed walking tests (significant interaction between group and time: F(1,40) = 14.252, p = 0.001; and F (1,40) = 7.883, p = 0.008, respectively). When measured, latero-lateral upper body accelerations were reduced in iWG (F= 4.727, p= 0.036), suggesting increased gait stability, which was supported by a reduced number of falls at home. Conclusions: A robotic servo-assisted i-Walker improved walking performance and balance in patients affected by mild/moderate stroke, leading to increased gait stability and reduced falls in the community.
CitationMorone, G., Annicchiarico, R., Iosa, M., Federici, A., Paolucci, S., Cortés, C., Caltagirone, C. Overground walking training with the i-Walker, a robotic servo-assistive device, enhances balance in patients with subacute stroke: a randomized controlled trial. "Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation", 26 Maig 2016, vol. 13, núm. 47, p. 1-10.