Retrospective case-control study to compare exoskeleton-assisted walking with standard care in subacute non-traumatic brain injury patients

Jenna Tosto-Mancuso, Gabriela Rozanski, Nehal Patel, Erica Breyman, Sophie Dewil, Oranicha Jumreornvong, David Putrino, Laura Tabacof, Miguel Escalon, Mar Cortes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Advanced technologies are increasingly used to address impaired mobility after neurological insults, with growing evidence of their benefits for various populations. However, certain robotic devices have not been extensively investigated in specific conditions, limiting knowledge about optimal application for healthcare. OBJECTIVE: To compare effectiveness of conventional gait training with exoskeleton-assisted walking for non-traumatic brain injury during early stage rehabilitation. METHODS: Clinical evaluation data at admission and discharge were obtained in a retrospective case-control design. Patients received standard of care physical therapy either using Ekso GT or not. Within- or between-group statistical tests were performed to determine change over time and interventional differences. RESULTS: This study analyzed forty-nine individuals (33% female), 20 controls and 29 Ekso participants who were equivalent at baseline. Both groups improved in Functional Independence Measure scores and ambulation ability (p <.00001 and p <.001, respectively). Control subjects demonstrated significantly different distance walked and assistance level values at discharge from those who were treated with the exoskeleton (p <.01). CONCLUSION: Robotic locomotion is non-inferior for subacute functional recovery after non-traumatic brain injury. Conventional therapy produced larger gait performance gains during hospitalization. Further research is needed to understand specific factors influencing efficacy and the long-term implications after rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 22 Dec 2023


  • Rehabilitation
  • brain injury
  • functional status
  • gait
  • physical therapy
  • robotics


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