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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 Dec;49(12):900-6.

Feasibility of robotic-assisted locomotor training in children with central gait impairment.

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1
Rehabilitation Centre, Affoltern am Albis, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. Andreas.Meyer-Heim@kispi.unizh.ch

Abstract

Intensive, task-specific training enabled by a driven gait orthosis (DGO) may be a cost-effective means of improving walking performance in children. A paediatric DGO has recently been developed. This study was the first paediatric trial aimed to determine the feasibility of robotic-assisted treadmill training in children with central gait impairment (n=26; 11 females, 15 males; mean age 10 y 1 mo [SD 4 y]; range 5 y 2 mo-19 y 5 mo). Diagnoses of the study group included cerebral palsy (n=19; Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I-IV), traumatic brain injury (n=1), Guillain-Barré syndrome (n=2), incomplete paraplegia (n=2), and haemorrhagic shock (n=1), and encephalopathy (n=1). Sixteen children were in-patients and 10 were outpatients. Twenty-four of the 26 patients completed the training which consisted of a mean of 19 sessions (SD 2.2; range 13-21) in the in-patient group and 12 sessions (SD 1.0; range 10-13) in the outpatient group. Gait speed and 6-Minute Walking Test increased significantly (p<0.01). Functional Ambulation Categories and Standing dimension (in-patient group p<0.01; outpatient group p<0.05) of the Gross Motor Function Measure improved significantly. DGO training was successfully integrated into the rehabilitation programme and findings suggest an improvement of locomotor performance.

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