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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2016 December;52(6):767-73

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Efficacy of robot-assisted rehabilitation for the functional recovery of the upper limb in post-stroke patients: a randomized controlled study

Giovanni TAVEGGIA 1, Alberto BORBONI 2, Lorena SALVI 1, Chiara MULÉ 1, Stefania FOGLIARESI 1, Jorge H. VILLAFAÑE 3, Roberto CASALE 1

1 Habilita, Sarnico Hospital, Sarnico, Bergamo, Italy; 2 Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; 3 I.R.C.C.S. Don Gnocchi Foundation and Institute for Scientific Research, Milan, Italy


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BACKGROUND: A prompt and effective physical and rehabilitation medicine approach is essential to obtain recovery of an impaired limb to prevent tendon shortening, spasticity and pain. Robot-assisted virtual reality intervention has been shown to be more effective than conventional interventions and achieved greater improvement in upper limb function.
AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of robotic-assisted motion and activity in addition to PRM for the rehabilitation of the upper limb in post-stroke inpatients.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Departments of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine from three different hospitals (Sarnico, Brescia; Bergamo; Milan).
POPULATION: A total of 54 patients and enrolled 23 men and 31 women with post-stroke hemiparesis, aged 18 to 80 years old, enrolled from July 2014 to February 2015.
METHODS: Of the 54 enrolled patients, 57% were female (mean age 71±12 years), and all had upper limb function deficit post-stroke. The experimental group received a passive mobilization of the upper limb through the robotic device ARMEO Spring and the control group received PRM for 6 consecutive weeks (5 days/week) in addition to traditional PRM. We assessed the impact on functional recovery (Functional Independence Measure [FIM] scale), strength (Motricity Index [MI]), spasticity (Modified Ashworth Scale [MAS]) and pain (Numeric Rating Pain Scale [NRPS]). All patients were evaluated by a blinded observer using the outcomes tests at enrollment (T0), after the treatment (T1) and at follow up 6 weeks later (T2).
RESULTS: Both control and experimental groups evidenced an improvement of the outcomes after the treatment (MI, Ashworth and NRPS with P<0.05). The experimental group showed further improvements after the follow up (all outcomes with P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: In the treatment of pain, disability and spasticity in upper limb after stroke, robot-assisted mobilization associated to PRM is as effective as traditional rehabilitation.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Robot-assisted treatment has an impact on upper limb motor function in stroke patients.


KEY WORDS: Robotics - Stroke - Upper extremity

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