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J Pediatr Orthop. 2011 Jul-Aug;31(5):e44-9. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31821f50b5.

Wilmington robotic exoskeleton: a novel device to maintain arm improvement in muscular disease.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopedics, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19803, USA. trahman@nemours.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Upper-extremity movement is limited in individuals with muscular weakness. This paper describes a novel, articulated upper-extremity orthosis, the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), which helps people overcome this movement deficit.

METHODS:

This prospective, case-controlled study involved an ambulatory patient with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and 2 nonambulatory patients with spinal muscular atrophy type II. The WREX uses elastic bands to negate the effects of gravity; it allows a person with neuromuscular weakness to move their arm in 3 dimensions. The WREX can be fixed on a brace for ambulatory patients and on the wheelchair for nonambulatory patients. Assessment was performed through motion analysis (with and without the WREX), clinical examination, and qualitative questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Motion analysis showed a marked improvement in upper-extremity function with the WREX. The questionnaire illustrated enhanced functionality with the WREX including self-feeding, fine motor control, and use of a television remote control. Enhanced functionality resulted in improved quality of life by increasing participation in school, raising self-esteem, and increasing social interaction. Two unexpected outcomes were increased security with trunk inclination and amelioration of the effects of contractures.

CONCLUSIONS:

The WREX provided an increase in functionality and improved the quality of life of the patients. The device has become an integral part of the lives of the 3 patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level III in Therapeutic Studies-Investigating the Results of Treatment.

PMID:
21654447
DOI:
10.1097/BPO.0b013e31821f50b5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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