The aim of this study was to investigate whether body weight-supported treadmill training with voluntary-driven exoskeleton body weight-supported treadmill training (VDE-BWSTT) improves the quality of life (QOL) of persons with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Nineteen individuals with chronic SCI with walking limitation underwent a total of 20 sessions of VDE-BWSTT using the hybrid assistant limb. The QOL was measured using the Short Form-36v2 (SF-36v2) questionnaire at preintervention and postintervention. The Walking Index for SCI-II (WISCI-II), Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor score, and Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) self-questionnaire were also administered/completed. In SF-36v2, the mean values of all subscales in our participants were lower than those in healthy individuals. None of the measures showed significant improvement, even in individuals with some residual walking ability (baseline WISCI-II score of 6 or higher). In the correlation analysis between the baselines WISCI-II, FIM, or NPSI values and the mean SF-36v2 subscale changes throughout the training, the baseline FIM motor score was positively correlated with the mean changes in Role Emotional and Mental Health. In addition, NPSI was negatively correlated with the mean change in Vitality and Mental Health. In our protocol, although VDE-BWSTT did not improve the QOL of persons with chronic SCI, those with higher functional independence or lower pain at preintervention likely improved. Further study with combination of task-specific training or pain-targeting treatment with more patients should be considered to more effectively improve their QOL.
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