[Abstract] The effects of a robot-assisted arm training plus hand functional electrical stimulation on recovery after stroke: a randomized clinical trial

Abstract

Objective

To compare the effects of unilateral, proximal arm robot-assisted therapy combined with hand functional electrical stimulation to intensive conventional therapy for restoring arm function in subacute stroke survivors.

Design

This was a single blinded, randomized controlled trial.

Setting

Inpatient Rehabilitation University Hospital.

Participants

Forty patients diagnosed with ischemic stroke (time since stroke <8 weeks) and upper limb impairment were enrolled.

Interventions

Participants randomized to the experimental group received 30 sessions (5 sessions/week) of robot-assisted arm therapy and hand functional electrical stimulation (RAT + FES). Participants randomized to the control group received a time-matched intensive conventional therapy (ICT).

Main outcome measures

The primary outcome was arm motor recovery measured with the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment. Secondary outcomes included motor function, arm spasticity and activities of daily living. Measurements were performed at baseline, after 3 weeks, at the end of treatment and at 6-month follow-up. Presence of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) was also measured at baseline.

Results

Both groups significantly improved all outcome measures except for spasticity without differences between groups. Patients with moderate impairment and presence of MEPs who underwent early rehabilitation (<30 days post stroke) demonstrated the greatest clinical improvements.

Conclusions

A robot-assisted arm training plus hand functional electrical stimulation was no more effective than intensive conventional arm training. However, at the same level of arm impairment and corticospinal tract integrity, it induced a higher level of arm recovery.

 

via The effects of a robot-assisted arm training plus hand functional electrical stimulation on recovery after stroke: a randomized clinical trial – ScienceDirect

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