Effect of robotic-assisted gait training in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury

Ann Rehabil Med. 2014 Dec;38(6):719-25. doi: 10.5535/arm.2014.38.6.719. Epub 2014 Dec 24.


Objective: To determine the effect of robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) compared to conventional overground training.

Methods: Sixty patients with motor incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) were included in a prospective, randomized clinical trial by comparing RAGT to conventional overground training. The RAGT group received RAGT three sessions per week at duration of 40 minutes with regular physiotherapy in 4 weeks. The conventional group underwent regular physiotherapy twice a day, 5 times a week. Main outcomes were lower extremity motor score of American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale (LEMS), ambulatory motor index (AMI), Spinal Cord Independence Measure III mobility section (SCIM3-M), and walking index for spinal cord injury version II (WISCI-II) scale.

Results: At the end of rehabilitation, both groups showed significant improvement in LEMS, AMI, SCIM3-M, and WISCI-II. Based on WISCI-II, statistically significant improvement was observed in the RAGT group. For the remaining variables, no difference was found.

Conclusion: RAGT combined with conventional physiotherapy could yield more improvement in ambulatory function than conventional therapy alone. RAGT should be considered as one additional tool to provide neuromuscular reeducation in patient with incomplete SCI.

Keywords: Recovery of function; Rehabilitation; Robotics; Spinal cord injuries; Walking.