Gait ability required to achieve therapeutic effect in gait and balance function with the voluntary driven exoskeleton in patients with chronic spinal cord injury: a clinical study

Hiroki Okawara, Tomonori Sawada, Kohei Matsubayashi, Keiko Sugai, Osahiko Tsuji, Narihito Nagoshi, Morio Matsumoto, Masaya Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study design: A non-randomized open-label single-arm clinical trial. Objectives: To analyze the effect of body weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT) with the voluntary driven exoskeleton (VDE) in persons with differing levels and completeness of spinal cord injury (SCI) and differing walking abilities. Setting: Keio University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan. Methods: Twenty individuals with chronic SCI (age, 43 ± 17 years) classified as American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade A (n = 2), B (n = 4), C (n = 8), or D (n = 6) who had reached a plateau in recovery. Participants underwent twenty 60 min sessions of BWSTT with the hybrid assisted limb. The speed, distance, and duration walked in every 60 min training session were recorded. The Walking Index for SCI Scale II (WISCI-II), 10 meters walk test (10MWT), 2 min walk test, timed up and go (TUG) test, Berg Balance Scale (BBS), lower extremity motor score (LEMS), Barthel Index, and Functional Independence Measure were evaluated at pre and post intervention. Results: There was a significant improvement in 10MWT, TUG, and BBS after the intervention. Walking ability significantly improved in participants with high walking ability at baseline (WISCI-II score 6–20; n = 12) but not in participants with low walking ability (WISCI-II score 0–3; n = 8). Significant improvement of BBS was also shown in participants with high walking ability at baseline. Conclusions: Patients with high walking ability at baseline responded better to the training than those with low walking ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-527
Number of pages8
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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