Original Article

Effectiveness of Gait Exercise Assist Robot (GEAR) for stroke patients with hemiplegia

Satoshi Hirano, MD, DMSc, Hitoshi Kagaya, MD, DMSc, Eiichi Saitoh, MD, DMSc, Shigeru Sonoda, MD, DMSc, Shigeo Tanabe, RPT, PhD, Masaki Katoh, RPT, Junya Yamada, RPT, Genichi Tanino, RPT, PhD, Akira Suzuki, RPT, Norihide Itoh, RPT, PhD
Jpn J Compr Rehabil Sci 8: 71-76, 2017

Objective: This study examined whether subacute stroke patients with hemiplegia who receive gait training using the Gait Exercise Assist Robot (GEAR) show early improvement in gait independence compared to patients who receive orthosis-assisted gait training.
Methods: Six patients who satisfied the following criteria were included in the study: patients with hemiplegia caused by primary supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage or cerebral infarction, within 60 days after onset, aged 20 to 75 years, Functional Independence Measure (FIM) walking score <- 3, Stroke Impairment Assessment Set (SIAS) lower extremity total score <- 6, and use of a knee-ankle-foot orthosis. Rehabilitation was conducted for a maximum of 3 h a day, including 40 min of gait training using GEAR. A historical control group was selected from among patients admitted to the ward for intensive inpatient rehabilitation at Nanakuri Memorial Hospital. One control patient matching the criteria of each subject was selected, with a total of six in the control group. The primary outcome measure was the improvement in efficiency of FIM-walk, defined as the gain in FIM walking score from the baseline to supervised walking divided by the number of weeks required.
Results: The mean improvement in efficiency of FIMwalk was 1.0 in the GEAR group and 0.54 in the control group, and was significantly higher in the GEAR group (p = 0.042).
Conclusion: Gait training using GEAR may facilitate early improvement in gait independence.

Key words: stroke, hemiplegia, gait training, robot, assist

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