Exoskeletal-assisted walking may improve seated balance in persons with chronic spinal cord injury: a pilot study

Chung Ying Tsai, Pierre K. Asselin, Eunkyoung Hong, Steven Knezevic, Stephen D. Kornfeld, Noam Y. Harel, Ann M. Spungen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study design: Pre-post intervention. Objective: To explore the potential effect of exoskeletal-assisted walking (EAW) on seated balance for persons with chronic motor complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: A SCI research center. Methods: Eight participants who were over 18 years of age with chronic SCI and used a wheelchair for mobility were enrolled. Seven able-bodied participants were used for normal seated balance comparative values. Participants with chronic SCI received supervised EAW training using a powered exoskeleton (ReWalkTM) for a median 30 sessions (range from 7 to 90 sessions). Before and after EAW training, seated balance testing outcomes were collected using computerized dynamic posturography, providing measurements of endpoint excursion (EPE), maximal excursion (MXE), and directional control (DCL). Modified functional reach test (MFRT) and the sub-scales of physical functioning and role limitations due to physical health from the Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) were used to identify changes in functional activities. Results: After EAW training, seated balance significantly improved in total-direction EPE and MXE (P < 0.01 and P < 0.017 respectively). The results of MFRT and sub-scales of physical functioning and role limitations due to physical health improved after EAW training but were not statistically significant. Conclusions: EAW training may have the potential to improve seated balance for persons with chronic motor complete SCI. Due to the limitations of the study, such as small sample size and lack of a control group, further studies are needed to clarify the effect of improving seated balance through EAW training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalSpinal cord series and cases
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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