Content » Vol 52, Issue 9

Original report

Further effects of electromechanically assisted gait trainer (Exowalk®) in patients with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Yeon-Gyo Nam, Jin Woo Park, Ho Jun Lee, Ki Yeun Nam, Myong Ryol Choi, Chang Seon Yu, Liguo Zhu, Xu Zhang, Jin Won Lee, Bum Sun Kwon
Rehabilitation Medicine, Graduate School of Dongguk University, Korea.
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2723

Abstract

Objective: To assess the effect on walking ability of electromechanically assisted gait training with a gait trainer (Exowalk®) for patients with chronic stroke.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Subjects: Forty patients with hemiplegia after stroke.
Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. The control group underwent physical therapist-assisted gait training and the experimental group underwent electromechanically assisted gait training. Interventions were provided for 60 min, 5 days a week, for a period of 2 weeks. Primary outcome was change in Functional Ambulatory Category. Secondary outcomes were walking speed, walking capacity, leg muscle strength and balance. All outcomes were measured before and after the intervention.
Results: Although the Functional Ambulatory Category improved significantly after gait training in both groups, the change in Functional Ambulatory Category did not differ between groups. In both groups most secondary outcomes also improved after gait training, but the changes in secondary outcomes did not differ between groups.
Conclusion: In patients with chronic stroke, walking improved after gait training with or without electromechanical assistance. Electromechanically assisted gait training was not superior to conventional physiotherapy.

Lay Abstract

Electromechanically assisted gait training is effective in patients with acute and sub-acute stroke and there is a continued possibility of further functional improvement even in patients with chronic stroke. The aim of this study was to evaluate the further effect of electromechanically assisted gait training with Exowalk® for patients with chronic stroke. Forty patients with hemiplegia after stroke randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. The control group underwent physical therapist-assisted gait training and the experimental group underwent electromechanically assisted gait training. As results, the change in ambulatory function did not differ between two groups. In patients with chronic stroke, walking improved after gait training with or without electromechanical assistance. However, electromechanically assisted gait training was not superior to conventional physiotherapy

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