Archive for category Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)

[Abstract] An Omnidirectional Assistive Platform Integrated With Functional Electrical Stimulation for Gait Rehabilitation: A Case Study


This paper presents a novel omnidirectional platform for gait rehabilitation of people with hemiparesis after stroke. The mobile platform, henceforth the “walker”, allows unobstructed pelvic motion during walking, helps the user maintain balance and prevents falls. The system aids mobility actively by combining three types of therapeutic intervention: forward propulsion of the pelvis, controlled body weight support, and functional electrical stimulation (FES) for compensation of deficits in angular motion of the joints. FES is controlled using gait data extracted from a set of inertial measurement units (IMUs) worn by the user. The resulting closed-loop FES system synchronizes stimulation with the gait cycle phases and automatically adapts to the variations in muscle activation caused by changes in residual muscle activity and spasticity. A pilot study was conducted to determine the potential outcomes of the different interventions. One chronic stroke survivor underwent five sessions of gait training, each one involving a total of 30 minutes using the walker and FES system. The patient initially exhibited severe anomalies in joint angle trajectories on both the paretic and the non-paretic side. With training, the patient showed progressive increase in cadence and self-selected gait speed, along with consistent decrease in double-support time. FES helped correct the paretic foot angle during swing phase, and likely was a factor in observed improvements in temporal gait symmetry. Although the experiments showed favorable changes in the paretic trajectories, they also highlighted the need for intervention on the non-paretic side.

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via An Omnidirectional Assistive Platform Integrated With Functional Electrical Stimulation for Gait Rehabilitation: A Case Study – PubMed

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[Abstract] An EMG-controlled system combining FES and a soft exoskeleton glove for hand rehabilitation of stroke patients – Conference paper

In this paper, we present the development of a hybrid system which supports an active rehabilitation of the closing and the opening of the hand. The particularity of this system is to combine a soft exoskeleton glove, the SEM Glove™, and functional electrical stimulations (FES) to perform both types of hand movements. The created system is also a suggestion of improvement for the SEM Glove™ that is already commercialized by the BIOSERVO company and usable for hand closing rehabilitation only. In our study, a FES system was associated to this glove in order to provide the missing hand opening rehabilitation. To engage the patient in his rehabilitation, our system is electromyogram (EMG)-controlled and is activated according to the patient movement intentions. EMG signals of the muscles involved in the extension and flexion of the fingers were recorded and then processed in order to detect muscle activations. The control of the different elements of the system was then executed based on the results of this detection. The preliminary results demonstrated that the designed hybrid system shows good performances in detecting correctly the intention of a healthy user. Some improvements could still be made in the signal processing to increase the sensitivity of detection, but we proved that the hybrid system is already operational to assist the hand movements of a healthy user.

via An EMG-controlled system combining FES and a soft exoskeleton glove for hand rehabilitation of stroke patients – Danish National Research Database

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[VIDEO] Functional electrical stimulation (FES) for stroke patient to improve walking ability. – YouTube

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) for Walking its important training for Improvement the waking in Stroke patient, FES is guide training for patient foot to pick up from ground. It’s also showed improvement in walking after training with FES. I am thankful to my patient for giving me consent for this Video. I am want to thank MGM MCRI Hospital and MGM Physiotherapy Rehabilitation and Fitness Centre, Aurangabad, Maharashtra for constant support. Neuro Physiotherapist: Dr. Gaurav C. Mhaske (PT)

via Functional electrical stimulation (FES) for stroke patient to improve walking ability. – YouTube

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[VIDEO] Stroke Rehabilitation: Use of electrical stimulation to help the fingers be able to open and close – YouTube


This video demonstrates how to use FES, Functional Electrical Stimulation, to engage the muscles of the arm to extend and flex the fingers

via Stroke Rehabilitation: Use of electrical stimulation to help the fingers be able to open and close – YouTube

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[ARTICLE] The Integration of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) as Control Module for Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Intervention in Post-Stroke Upper Extremity Rehabilitation – Full Text


One of the prevalent disabilities after stroke is the loss of upper extremity motor function, leading survivors to suffer from an increased dependency in their activities of daily living and a general decrease in their overall quality of life. Therefore, the restoration of upper extremity function to improve survivors’ independency is crucial. Conventional stroke rehabilitation interventions, while effective, fall short of helping individuals achieve maximum recovery potential. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), both with passive and active approaches, has been found to moderately increase function in the affected limbs. This paper discusses a novel EEG-Based BCI-FES system that provides FES stimulation to the affected limbs based on the brain activity patterns of the patient specifically in the sensory motor cortex, while the patient imagines moving the affected limb. This system allows the synchronization of brain activity with peripheral movements, which may lead to brain reorganization and restoration of motor function by affecting motor learning or re-learning, and therefore induce brain plasticity to restore normal-like brain function.


Stroke is one of the leading causes of severe motor disability, with approximately 800,000 individuals each year are experiencing a new or recurrent stroke in the US alone (1). Advances in healthcare and medical technology, and the high incidence of stroke and its increasing rate in the growing elderly population, have contributed to a relatively large population of stroke survivors currently estimated at 4 million individuals in the United States alone (1). These survivors are left with several devastating long-term neurological impairments.

The most apparent defect after a stroke is motor impairments, with impairment of upper extremity (UE) functions standing as the most disabling motor deficit. Approximately 80% of survivors suffering from UE paresis, and only about one-tenth of the them regain complete functional recovery (2). Stroke survivors generally suffer from a decrease in their quality of life, and an increase dependency in their activities of daily living. Statistically, close to one quarter of the stroke survivors become dependent in activities of daily living (3). Thus, the optimal restoration of arm and hand function is crucial to improve their independence.

Recently, several remarkable advancements in the medical management of stroke have been made. However, a widely applicable or effective medical treatment is still missing, and most post-stroke care will continue to depend on rehabilitation interventions (4). The available UE stroke rehabilitation interventions can be categorized as: conventional physical and occupational therapy, constraint-induced movement therapy (CIT), functional electrical stimulation (FES), and robotic-aided and sensor-based therapy systems (5). Although an increased effort has been made to enhance the recovery process following a stroke, survivors generally do not reach their full recovery potential. Thus, the growing population of stroke survivors is in a vital need for innovative strategies in stroke rehabilitation, especially in the domain of UE motor rehabilitation. This paper presents an innovative integration of a brain-computer interface (BCI) system to actively control the delivery of FES. Early research and product development activities are advancing the reality of this becoming a mainstream intervention option.


The use of FES on the impaired arm is an accepted intervention for stroke rehabilitation aiming to improve motor function. A systematic review with meta-analysis of 18 randomized control trials found that FES had a moderate effect on activity compared with no intervention or placebo and a large effect on UE activity compared to control groups, suggesting that FES should be used in stroke rehabilitation to improve the ability to perform activities (6). Specifically, improvements in UE motor function after intensive FES intervention can be ascribed to the increased ability to voluntarily contract impaired muscles, the reduction in spasticity and improved muscle tone in the stimulated muscles, and the increased range of motion in all joints (7). These improvements in UE after FES could be attributable to multiple neural mechanisms, with one mechanism suggesting that proprioceptive sensory input and visual perception of the movement could promote neural reorganization and motor learning (8). A potential limiting factor to the application of FES is that the stimulation is administered manually, usually from a therapist, without any regard to the concurrent brain activity of the patient. This makes the delivery a passive process with no to minimal coordination with the mental task required to happen concurrently from the patient.

On the other hand, electromyography (EMG)-triggered FES systems made the delivery of FES an active process. Such systems are activated through detecting a preset electrical threshold in certain muscles, which provide the user (patient) the ability to actively control the delivery of FES and make the delivery concurrent with the patient’s brain activity. However, a systematic review of 8 randomized controlled trials (n=157) that assessed the effects of EMG-triggered neuromuscular electrical stimulation for improving hand function in stroke patients found no statistically significant differences in effects when compared to patients receiving usual care (9). A possibility to explain the shortcoming of EMG-triggered FES systems, is that the ability of the brain to generate and send efficient neural signals to the peripheral nervous system is disrupted after stroke, which could affect the control mechanism of these systems. Thus, the synchronization of FES with brain activity maybe critical for the optimization of recovery.


BCI technology can be used to actively control the FES application through detecting the brain neural activity directly when imagining or attempting a movement. Performing or mentally imagining (or as it commonly called motor imagery) a movement results in the generation of neurophysiological phenomena called event-related desynchronization or synchronization (ERD or ERS). ERD or ERS can be observed from Mu (9–13 Hz) or Beta rhythms (22–29 Hz) over the primary sensorimotor area contralateral to the imagined part of the body (10). These rhythms can be detected using electroencephalography (EEG). Therefore, an EEG based BCI system can be utilized to provide automated FES neurofeedback through detecting either actual movement or motor imagery (MI) and can be used to train the voluntary modulation of these rhythms. The ability to modulate these rhythms alongside the real-time neurofeedback from the FES application may induce neuroplastic change in a disrupted motor system to allow for more normal motor-related brain activity, and thus promote functional recovery. Figure 1 provides an overview of the BCI-FES system.

Any BCI-FES intervention session includes two screening tasks: an open-loop screening followed by a closed-loop task. The open-loop screening task is used to identify appropriate EEG-based control features to guide all subsequent closed-loop tasks. In the open-loop screening task, subjects are instructed to perform attempted movement of either hand by following on-screen cues of “right”, “left”, and “rest”. The attempted movement can vary across subjects, depending on the subject’s baseline abilities and recovery goals. For example, subjects can perform opening and closing of the hand or wrist flexion/extension movements. During this screening task, no feedback is provided to the subject.

figure 2 shows a screenshot of the closed-loop task interface, with a ball at the center and a target to the right, in order to provide a cue for the user to move his/her right hand.

Figure 2. Screenshot of Closed-loop Task

Data from the open-loop screening task will then be analyzed to identify appropriate EEG-based control features by determine the EEG channels the presents the largest r-squared values within the frequency ranges of the Mu and Beta rhythms for each attempted movement using left or right hand (11). The identified channels and the specific frequency bins will then be used to control the signals for the closed-loop neurofeedback task.

In the closed-loop screening task, a real-time visual feedback is given to the subject in a form of a game. A ball appears on the center of a computer monitor with a vertical rectangle (target) to either the right or left side of the screen (Figure 2). The movement of the ball is controlled by the BCI system in which the detection of an attempted movement in either hand will be translated into moving the ball toward the same side. For example, if the target appeared on the left side of the screen and the BCI system detected a movement attempt of the user’s left hand, the ball then moves toward the left. Users are instructed to perform or attempt the same movement that they used during the open-loop task. The FES electrodes are placed on the subject’s affected side over a specific muscle of the forearm. The selection of which muscle to be innervated with FES is dependent on the rehabilitation goal for the subject. For example, if a subject is having a difficulty extending his/her wrist, the FES electrodes are placed over the extensor muscles of the impaired forearm.

The FES neurofeedback is triggered when cortical activity related to attempted movement of the impaired limb is detected by the BCI system, and the subject is cued to attempt movement of the impaired hand. Thus, since both ball movement and FES are controlled by the same set of EEG signals, FES is only applied when the ball moves correctly toward the target on the affected side of the body. This triggering of the FES ensures that only consistent, desired patterns of brain activity associated with attempted movement of the impaired hand are rewarded with feedback from the FES device.


The growing population of stroke survivors constitutes an increasing need for new strategies in stroke rehabilitation. Thus, it is imperative to explore novel intervention technologies that present promise to aid in the recovery process of this population. Some studies suggest that noninvasive EEG-based BCI systems hold a potential for facilitating upper extremities motor recovery after stroke (12,13). Although several groups had gave up on the idea of using non-invasive EEG-based BCI systems for control, there might be several implementations of these systems in the context of rehabilitation that yet need to be explored. The active EEG-based BCI-FES system is one example. However, more research and clinical studies are needed to investigate the efficacy of the system in order to be accepted and integrated into regular stroke rehabilitation practice.


(1) Norrving B, Kissela B. The global burden of stroke and need for a continuum of care. Neurology 2013 Jan 15;80(3 Suppl 2):S5-12.

(2) Langhorne P, Coupar F, Pollock A. Motor recovery after stroke: a systematic review. The Lancet Neurology 2009;8(8):741-754.

(3) Sanchez RJ, Liu J, Rao S, Shah P, Smith R, Rahman T, et al. Automating arm movement training following severe stroke: functional exercises with quantitative feedback in a gravity-reduced environment. IEEE Transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering 2006;14(3):378-389.

(4) Langhorne P, Bernhardt J, Kwakkel G. Stroke rehabilitation. The Lancet 2011;377(9778):1693-1702.

(5) Loureiro RC, Harwin WS, Nagai K, Johnson M. Advances in upper limb stroke rehabilitation: a technology push. Med Biol Eng Comput 2011;49(10):1103.

(6) Howlett OA, Lannin NA, Ada L, McKinstry C. Functional electrical stimulation improves activity after stroke: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2015;96(5):934-943.

(7) Kawashima N, Popovic MR, Zivanovic V. Effect of intensive functional electrical stimulation therapy on upper-limb motor recovery after stroke: case study of a patient with chronic stroke. Physiotherapy Canada 2013;65(1):20-28.

(8) Wang R. Neuromodulation of effects of upper limb motor function and shoulder range of motion by functional electric stimulation (FES). Operative Neuromodulation: Springer; 2007. p. 381-385.

(9) Meilink A, Hemmen B, Seelen H, Kwakkel G. Impact of EMG-triggered neuromuscular stimulation of the wrist and finger extensors of the paretic hand after stroke: a systematic review of the literature. Clin Rehabil 2008;22(4):291-305.

(10) Ang KK, Guan C. EEG-Based Strategies to Detect Motor Imagery for Control and Rehabilitation. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 2017;25(4):392-401.

(11) Wilson JA, Schalk G, Walton LM, Williams JC. Using an EEG-based brain-computer interface for virtual cursor movement with BCI2000. J Vis Exp 2009 Jul 29;(29). pii: 1319. doi(29):10.3791/1319.

(12) Caria A, Weber C, Brötz D, Ramos A, Ticini LF, Gharabaghi A, et al. Chronic stroke recovery after combined BCI training and physiotherapy: a case report. Psychophysiology 2011;48(4):578-582.

(13) Young BM, Nigogosyan Z, Remsik A, Walton LM, Song J, Nair VA, et al. Changes in functional connectivity correlate with behavioral gains in stroke patients after therapy using a brain-computer interface device. Frontiers in neuroengineering 2014;7:25.


This project is supported in part by UW-Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and College of Health Sciences, UW-Milwaukee.


via The Integration of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) as Control Module for Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Intervention in Post-Stroke Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

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[VIDEO] Mirror Therapy Combined With Electrical Stimulation Using SaeboStim Micro – YouTube

Saebo, Inc. is a medical device company primarily engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of affordable and novel clinical solutions designed to improve mobility and function in individuals suffering from neurological and orthopedic conditions. With a vast network of Saebo-trained clinicians spanning six continents, Saebo has helped over 100,000 clients around the globe achieve a new level of independence.

In 2001, two occupational therapists had one simple, but powerful goal – to provide neurological clients access to transformative and life changing products.

At the time, treatment options for improving arm and hand function were limited. The technology that did exist was expensive and inaccessible for home use. With inadequate therapy options often leading to unfavorable outcomes, health professionals routinely told their clients that they have “reached a plateau” or “no further gains can be made”. The founders believed that it was not the clients who had plateaued, but rather their treatment options had plateaued.

Saebo’s commitment – “No Plateau in Sight” – was inspired by this mentality; and the accessible, revolutionary solutions began.

Saebo’s revolutionary product offering was based on the latest advances in rehabilitation research. From the SaeboFlex which allows clients to incorporate their hand functionally in therapy or at home, to the SaeboMAS, an unweighting device used to assist the arm during daily living tasks and exercise training, “innovation” and “affordability” can now be used in the same sentence.

Over the last ten years, Saebo has grown into a leading global provider of rehabilitative products created through the unrelenting leadership and the strong network of clinicians around the world. As we celebrate our history and helping more than 100,000 clients regain function, we are growing this commitment to affordability and accessibility even further by making our newest, most innovative products more accessible than ever.

via Mirror Therapy Combined With Electrical Stimulation Using SaeboStim Micro – YouTube

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[NEWS] Kessler Foundation receives NIH sub-award to test new treatment for hand paralysis


Stroke rehabilitation researchers test new electrical stimulation therapy for improving for hand function after stroke, as part of multi-site study headed by the MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University




East Hanover, NJ. November 26, 2019. Kessler Foundation is participating in a phase II multi-site study of an innovative treatment to improve hand function in stroke survivors. Olga Boukrina, PhD, research scientist in the Center for Stroke Rehabilitation Research, is the site’s principal investigator. The study is funded through a five-year $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to the principal investigator, Jayme S. Knutson, PhD, director of Research and associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University.

This is the first multi-site clinical trial of contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation (CCFES), a new rehabilitation intervention for hand recovery following stroke developed by Knutson and colleagues. With CCFES, electrical stimulation is applied to the muscles of the weak hand through surface electrodes, causing the weak hand to open, a function that is often lost in stroke survivors. The patient controls the stimulation to their weak hand through a glove with sensors worn on their opposite, unaffected hand. Opening their unaffected hand delivers a proportional intensity of electrical stimulation that opens their weak hand, and enables them to practice using their hand in therapy. Researchers will enroll 129 patients who are 6 to 24 months post stroke who have upper extremity hemiparesis and limited hand movement.

The effectiveness of CCFES will be compared with two other treatments — cyclic neuromuscular electrical stimulation (CNMES), which has pre-set duration and intensity of stimulation and operates independent of patient control, and traditional task-based training without stimulation. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of the three treatment options for 12 weeks. The research teams will administer the treatments and conduct blinded outcome assessments. The durability of functional improvements will be evaluated at 6-month follow-up. Study sites include the MetroHealth System (Jayme Knutson, PhD), the Cleveland Clinic (Ela Plow, PT, PhD), Emory University (A.M. Barrett, MD), and Johns Hopkins University (Preeti Raghavan, MD).

“Because hand function is integral to so many activities of daily living, advances that improve function can have significant effect on the lives of stroke survivors,” said Dr. Boukrina. “This study will help determine the optimal method for restoring hand function. We anticipate that putting the patients in control of stimulating their weak hand with CCFES may activate neuroplastic changes that lead to greater and longer lasting functional gains.”

via Kessler Foundation receives NIH sub-award to test new treatment for hand paralysis | EurekAlert! Science News

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[ARTICLE] A portable assist-as-need upper-extremity hybrid exoskeleton for FES-induced muscle fatigue reduction in stroke rehabilitation – Full Text



Hybrid exoskeletons are a recent development which combine Functional Electrical Stimulation with actuators to improve both the mental and physical rehabilitation of stroke patients. Hybrid exoskeletons have been shown capable of reducing the weight of the actuator and improving movement precision compared to Functional Electrical Stimulation alone. However little attention has been given towards the ability of hybrid exoskeletons to reduce and manage Functional Electrical Stimulation induced fatigue or towards adapting to user ability. This work details the construction and testing of a novel assist-as-need upper-extremity hybrid exoskeleton which uses model-based Functional Electrical Stimulation control to delay Functional Electrical Stimulation induced muscle fatigue. The hybrid control is compared with Functional Electrical Stimulation only control on a healthy subject.


The hybrid system produced 24° less average angle error and 13.2° less Root Mean Square Error, than Functional Electrical Stimulation on its own and showed a reduction in Functional Electrical Stimulation induced fatigue.


As far as the authors are aware, this is the study which provides evidence of the advantages of hybrid exoskeletons compared to use of Functional Electrical Stimulation on its own with regards to the delay of Functional Electrical Stimulation induced muscle fatigue.


Stroke is the second largest cause of disability worldwide after dementia [1]. Temporary hemiparesis is common among stroke survivors. Regaining strength and movement in the affected side takes time and can be improved with the use of rehabilitation therapy involving repetitive and function-specific tasks [2]. Muscle atrophy is another common issue that occurs after a stroke due to lack of use of the muscle. For each day a patient is in hospital lying in bed with minimal activity approximately 13% of muscular strength is lost (Ellis. Liam, Jackson. Samuel, Liu. Cheng-Yueh, Molloy. Peter, Paterson. Kelsey, Lower Limb Exoskeleton Final Report, unpublished). Electromechanically actuated exoskeletons offer huge advantages in their ability to repetitively and precisely provide assistance/resistance to a user. However electromechanical actuators which provide the required forces are often heavy in weight and have high power requirements which limits portability. Furthermore, muscle atrophy can only be prevented by physically working the muscles either through the patient’s own volition or the use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

FES is the application of high frequency electrical pulses to the nerves or directly to the muscle belly in order to elicit contractions in the muscle. FES devices are typically lightweight and FES is well suited to reducing muscle atrophy in patients with no or extremely limited movement. The trade off to this is that precise control of FES is extremely difficult and controlling specific, repetitive, and functional movement is not easily accomplished. Furthermore, extended use of FES is limited by the introduction of muscle fatigue caused by the unnatural motor unit recruitment order [3]. The forces required for large movements, such as shoulder abduction, are too great to be provided by the use of FES which is much better suited to smaller movements such as finger extension [45]. Some patients also find the use of FES painful.

Combining the use of FES and an electromechanical actuator within an exoskeleton can potentially overcome the limitations of each individual system. Despite the potential advantages of hybrid exoskeletons, so far only limited studies have been done on their effectiveness. A recent review was conducted into upper-extremity hybrid exoskeletons [6] which highlighted the advantages hybrid exoskeletons (exoskeletons which combine FES with an actuator) have with regards to improving the precision of FES induced movements. However, little attention has been given towards reduction and management of FES-induced fatigue. FES control systems used for upper-extremity hybrid exoskeletons simply manually ramp up stimulation intensity when fatigue is observed.

This work describes the design and testing of an assist-as-need upper-extremity hybrid exoskeleton which uses model-based control of FES with a focus on reducing FES-induced muscle fatigue. The control system is described in Section “Theory”, and the results are presented in Section “Results”. A discussion of the results is given in Section “Discussion”. Conclusions are summarised in Section “Conclusion”. Methods, physical structure of the exoskeleton, and the sensing system is described in Section “Material and methods”.[…]


Continue —->  A portable assist-as-need upper-extremity hybrid exoskeleton for FES-induced muscle fatigue reduction in stroke rehabilitation | BMC Biomedical Engineering | Full Text


Fig. 10 The Powered Exoskeleton (Right Arm)

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[Project] Functional Electrical Stimulation for at Home Rehabilitation | WalkHome Project | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission


The Context
Stroke has huge human and economic cost. 1 million people suffer strokes in Europe every year, with an average life expectancy after stroke of 8 years. Roughly 20% of stroke survivors suffer from drop foot, with 45 billion euros spent on rehabilitating stroke patients in Europe every year.
The opportunity:
FES offers the tantalising prospect of retraining voluntary motor functions such as walking. However:
– FES rehabilitation must be carried out in a hospital with the support of trained healthcare professionals;
– Transporting patients and supervising treatment is expensive;
– Patient’s treatment plan is sub-optimal;
– Per patient rehabilitation costs reach 32,000 euros
Our solution:
Fesia WalkHome is a FES rehabilitation device for drop foot patients which can be administered by the patient in their own home. This not only reduces costs by 43% but also means patients can have an optimal treatment plan, improving their speed of recovery.
The use of Fesia Walk at home will give autonomy, independence and improve the quality of life for chronic patients. It will also mean a substantial reduction of waiting lists, health costs, number of physician office visits, and carer support.
The Project:
WalkHome represents a disruptive change of paradigm for the FES rehabilitation standard of care. The aim of the phase 1 project is to improve our understanding of the EU market for FES rehabilitation, identifying regional market variations in terms of key decision makers, appropriate business models, pricing structure and identifying which are the most attractive markets for us to use as a beachhead. We will also analyse what key improvements need to be made to the existing technology to create the new FES home care rehabilitation market.
The Market:
Currently, there is no FES rehabilitation technology that is offered outside of a clinical setting. We estimate that this new home FES rehabilitation market could be worth up to 40 billion euros in Europe alone.

via Functional Electrical Stimulation for at Home Rehabilitation | WalkHome Project | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission

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



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.


This was a single blinded, randomized controlled trial.


Inpatient Rehabilitation University Hospital.


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


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.


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.


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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