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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 Feb 25

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06112-2

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Robot-assisted arm training for treating adult patients with distal radius fracture: a proof-of-concept pilot study

Alessandro PICELLI 1, 2 , Daniele MUNARI 2, Angela MODENESE 2, Mirko FILIPPETTI 1, Gabriele SAGGIORO 2, Marialuisa GANDOLFI 1, 2, Massimo CORAIN 3, Nicola SMANIA 1, 2

1 Neuromotor and Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Center, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Section, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; 2 Neurorehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurosciences, University Hospital of Verona, Verona, Italy; 3 Hand Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery and Odontology, University Hospital of Verona, Verona, Italy


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BACKGROUND: Fracture of the distal radius is a common wrist injury. As to its management after orthopedic (conservative or surgical) treatment, there is weak evidence for conventional rehabilitation interventions. Despite the increasing interest for robot-assisted arm therapy as to neurological disabilities and its growing diffusion in rehabilitation facilities, no previous study investigated the feasibility of robotic training on arm orthopedic impairment. Aim. To evaluate the feasibility in terms of efficacy of robot-assisted arm training on upper limb impairment in patients with fracture of the distal radius.
DESIGN: Proof-of-concept, pilot, randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: University hospital.
POPULATION: Twenty adult outpatients with distal radius fracture due to wrist injury.
METHODS: All participants underwent ten, 1-hour (40 minutes of arm training + 20 minutes of conventional occupational therapy) training sessions, five days a week for two consecutive weeks. They were randomly assigned to two groups: patients allocated to the Robotic Arm Training group received arm training by means of a robotic device and patients allocated to the Conventional Arm Training group performed arm training following a conventional rehabilitation program. All patients were evaluated before, immediately after treatment and at four weeks of follow-up. The following outcomes were considered at the affected arm: forearm pronation/supination and wrist extension/flexion passive and active range of motion; maximal pinch and grip strength; the Patient-Rated Wrist and Hand Evaluation.
RESULTS: No difference was found between groups as to the primary (wrist active and passive range of motion) and secondary (pinch and grip strength; Patient-Rated Wrist and Hand Evaluation score) outcomes at all time points. Within-group comparisons showed similar improvements at all time points as to all outcomes considered in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary findings support the hypothesis that robot-assisted arm training might be a feasible tool for treating upper limb impairment in adult patients with distal radius fracture treated conservatively or surgically.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The treatment of arm impairment consequent to distal radius fractures by means of robot-assisted arm training may allow therapists to focus on functional rehabilitation during occupational (individual) therapy and supervise (more than one) patients simultaneously during robotic training sessions.


KEY WORDS: Bone fractures; Rehabilitation; Robotics; Wrist injuries

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