Background: While Walkbot-assisted locomotor training (WLT) provided ample evidence on balance and gait improvements, the therapeutic effects on cardiopulmonary and psychological elements as well as fall confidence are unknown in stroke survivors.
Objective: The present study aimed to compare the effects of Walkbot locomotor training (WLT) with conventional locomotor training (CLT) on balance and gait, cardiopulmonary and psychological functions and fall confidence in acute hemiparetic stroke.
Methods: Fourteen patients with acute hemiparetic stroke were randomized into either the WLT (60-minute physical therapy +30-minute Walkbot-assisted gait training) or CLT (60 min physical therapy +30 min gait training) groups, 7 days/week over 2 weeks. Clinical outcomes included the Berg balance scale (BBS), functional ambulation category (FAC), heart rate (HR) and Borg rating of perceived exertion (BRPE), Beck depression inventory-II (BDI-II), and the activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) scale. The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted at P < 0.05.
Results: ANCOVA showed that WLT showed superior effects, compared to CLT, on FAC, HR, BRPE, BDI-II, and ABC scale (P < 0.05), but not on BBS (P = 0.061).
Conclusions: Our results provide novel, promising clinical evidence that WLT improved balance and gait function as well as cardiopulmonary and psychological functions, and fall confidence in acute stroke survivors who were unable to ambulate independently.
Keywords: Neurorehabilitation; cardiopulmonary function; hemiplegia; psychological function; robotic-assisted gait training; stroke; walkbot.