DOI: 10.3390/jcm12165389 ISSN:

Safety and Feasibility Study of the Medical Care Pit Walking Support System for Rehabilitation of Acute Stroke Patients

Hiroki Watanabe, Bryan J. Mathis, Tomoyuki Ueno, Masakazu Taketomi, Shigeki Kubota, Aiki Marushima, Hiroaki Kawamoto, Yoshiyuki Sankai, Akira Matsumura, Yasushi Hada
  • General Medicine

Stroke rehabilitation with mechanical assistance improves outcomes by facilitating repetition and relieving the care burden of therapy staff. Here, we tested the Medical Care Pit (MCP) walking assistance training device in the rehabilitation of eight acute stroke patients (median age 60.7 ± 16.3 years) who had recently suffered ischemic (three) or hemorrhagic (five) stroke (14.1 ± 6.5 days). Patients received standard rehabilitation approximately 5 days per week (weekdays only), plus MCP therapy twice a week, totaling four MCP sessions over 2 weeks. Fugl–Meyer Assessment-Lower Extremities (FMA-LE), Functional Ambulation Category (FAC), and other gait-associated parameters were measured. Over the 10.5 ± 1.6 days of therapy, MCP qualitatively assisted in gait analysis and real-time patient feedback while independent walking scores significantly improved (FAC 2.2 ± 0.8 to 3.1 ± 1.3, p = 0.020). FMA-LE scores also slightly improved but not to significance (p = 0.106). Objective burden on patients, as measured by modified Borg scale, was significantly improved (2.7 ± 1.6 to 2.0 ± 1.6, p = 0.014). In terms of questionnaires, anxiety scores for the physical therapist regarding gait training and falling with MCP significantly decreased (3.8 ± 2.3 to 1.0 ± 1.6; p = 0.027 and 3.1 ± 2.2 to 0.8 ± 1.3; p = 0.045) from the first to fourth sessions. Taken together, MCP, in addition to the usual rehabilitation program, was effective in gait rehabilitation for independent walking and relieved burdens on the patients. Such walking support systems may be an important part of acute stroke rehabilitation.

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