Robot-mediated therapy for paretic upper limb of chronic patients following neurological injury
Federico Posteraro, Stefano Mazzoleni, Sara Aliboni, Benedetta Cesqui, Alessandro Battaglia, Paolo Dario, Silvestro Micera
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of robot-mediated therapy targeted at the motor recovery of the upper limb in chronic patients following neurological injury.
Design: Pre-post treatment study.
Subjects: Twenty patients were enrolled in the study.
Methods: Robot-mediated therapy was provided to chronic hemiparetic patients (acute event had occurred at least one year prior to the study), 3 times a week, for 6 weeks. The therapy consisted of goal-directed, planar reaching tasks that exercised the hemiparetic shoulder and elbow. The items for the shoulder and elbow of Motor Status Score, Modified Ashworth Scale and range of motion were used as outcome measures.
Results: Statistically significant improvements before and after treatment were found in each outcome measure. A 3-month follow-up evaluation indicated that patients maintained the improvements.
Conclusion: The results confirm that robot-mediated therapy, through short-term, but intensive, repetitive and goal-directed trials, contributes to a decrease in the upper limb’s motor disability in people with a chronic neurological injury by reducing motor impairment and shoulder pain. The treatment was well accepted and tolerated by patients. No adverse events occurred.