Enhanced Gait-Related Improvements After Therapist- Versus Robotic-Assisted Locomotor Training in Subjects With Chronic Stroke. A Randomized Controlled Study.

Hornby TG, Campbell DD, Kahn JH, Demott T, Moore JL, Roth HR

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of robotic devices that provide consistent symmetrical assistance to facilitate locomotor training (LT) compared with therapist assisted LT.  48 participants received 12 LT sessions for 30 minutes at similar speeds, with guided symmetrical locomotor assistance using a robotic orthosis versus manual facilitation from a single therapist using an assist-as-needed paradigm. Greater improvements in speed and single limb stance time on the impaired leg were observed in subjects who received therapist-assisted LT, with larger speed improvements in those with less severe gait deficits. Perceived rating of the effects of physical limitations on quality of life improved only in subjects with severe gait deficits who received therapist-assisted LT.

Therapist-assisted LT facilitates greater improvements in walking ability in ambulatory stroke survivors as compared to a similar dosage of robotic-assisted LT.

Stroke, 2008 May 8, online article ahead of press

Link to Abstract