Does treadmill training with Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) impact the quality of life? A first case series in the United States

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2019 Jul;14(5):521-525. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2018.1493751. Epub 2018 Jul 25.


Introduction: Recently published studies show remarkable improvements in functional mobility after treadmill training with HAL® in patients with spinal cord injuries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of HAL®-assisted treadmill training on quality of life. Patient/Method: A case series of six patients participating in a single-centre prospective, interventional pilot study, who were suffering neurologic motor deficits. The quality of life was assessed using the EQ-5D questionnaire and mobility was assessed using the PROMIS v1.2 Physical Function - Mobility Score before treadmill training, at 12-weeks, and at 6-months. Results: Five out of six patients showed improvement in the PROMIS v1.2 Physical Function - Mobility score. Four patients did not show changes in the EQ-5D at 6 months follow-up, relative to baseline. The EQ-5D score of one patient worsened while improved in another patient at 6 months follow-up compared to the baseline. Conclusion: Our study details the first experience in a larger series regarding the effects of HAL®-assisted treadmill training on quality of life. Whereas five out of six patients showed improvements in mobility scores, only one patient showed improvement of life quality at 6 months follow-up. Life quality is influenced by a multitude of factors and lager randomized trials are needed to assess the effect of HAL®-assisted training on quality of life. Implications for Rehabilitation Treadmill training with HAL is safe and feasible for patients with neurologic disorders Treadmill training with HAL improved the functional mobility Improvements in the quality of life were unverifiable.

Keywords: EQ-5D; Life quality; exoskeleton; gait training; neurorehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Exoskeleton Device*
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Walking*