A recent study conducted by the American Heart Association on Stroke Rehabilitation revealed that robotic assistance in stroke rehabilitation provided long term benefits for the patients. The study, titled Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, was conducted by a team of Italian Researchers over a period of two years on 48 stroke survivors.
These patients were unable to walk at the beginning of study and later underwent conventional gait rehabilitation with robotic assistance. Half of the patients were made to undergo conventional overground gait rehabilitation and the rest were made to undergo robotic gait training along with the conventional rehab for a number of months.
The lead researcher and physiatrist, Giovanni Morone, explained that the study results showed five times more patients who took robotic assistance training and were able to walk without assistance. He added that for the success of the robotic therapy it was important that the right kind of patient was selected. Robotic devices are electromechanical platforms that are attached to the feet of the patient and controlled by a physical therapist. The therapist uses a controller that monitors the patient’s condition and sets the bearing weight and the gait pace according to the condition. Apart from the walking ability, other factors like performing their routine tasks were also considered for evaluating their progress and classifying them into high- and low mobility groups. The group of patients who were assisted by robotic gait training underwent 20 sessions during the first month along with conventional treatment sessions. It was observed that only critically affected stroke patients showed maximum improvement with the help of robotic training and were able to walk without assistance two years after discharge.