Original Article

Gait reconstruction using the gait assist robot WPAL in patients with cervical spinal cord injury

Ikuko Fuse, MD, Satoshi Hirano, MD, DMSc, Eiichi Saitoh, MD, DMSc, Yohei Otaka, MD, PhD, Shigeo Tanabe, RPT, PhD, Masaki Katoh, RPT, Takeshi Gotoh, RPT, Sho Tsunogai, RPT, Ayaka Kumagai, RPT, Tetsuya Tsunoda, MD, DMSc, Soichiro Koyama, RPT, PhD
Jpn J Compr Rehabil Sci 10: 88-95, 2019

Objective: We evaluated the gait ability of patients with cervical spinal cord injury using the Wearable Power-Assist Locomotor (WPAL) and compared the ability with when they used an orthosis.
Methods: Five patients with cervical spinal cord injury were instructed to walk while wearing an orthosis or WPAL. Functional Ambulation Categories (FAC) score, continuous walking time and distance, subjective exercise intensity, upper limb fatigue, and Physiological Cost Index (PCI) during a 3-minute walk were evaluated. Each index was compared between the conditions of wearing an orthosis and using WPAL.
Results: Among the 5 patients, 3 showed higher FAC scores when walking using WPAL than when walking with an orthosis, while the other 2 patients showed no difference. In addition, 3 patients were capable of independent gait. The continuous walking distance was significantly longer when using WPAL than when using an orthosis (p < 0.05). Walking speed, stride length, and cadence were greater when using WPAL in all patients, and PCI was lower when using WPAL in all patients.
Conclusion: Compared with an orthosis, WPAL is useful for achieving gait reconstruction in patients with cervical spinal cord injury.

Key words: cervical spinal cord injury, quadriplegia, robot, orthosis, gait reconstruction

Contents (volume 10)