BACKGROUND: Robot-assisted gait training has been introduced as a practical treatment adjunctive to traditional stroke rehabilitation to provide high-intensity repetitive training. The design of robots is usually based on either the end-effector and exoskeleton method. The novel Robot Gait Training System (RGTS), a hybrid mixed type of end-effector and exoskeleton, tries to combine advantages from both methods. OBJECTIVE: This preliminary study was conducted to report whether this novel system is feasible and safe when applied to non-ambulatory subacute patients with stroke. METHODS: Six patients with stroke participated in this study and received 15 daily RGTS sessions. The outcome measures included the lower extremity subscale of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-LE), Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke (PASS), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and Barthel Index (BI). These measurements were performed at the pretest and posttest. RESULTS: The RGTS demonstrated significant after-before changes in the FMA-LE, PASS, BBS and BI (p<0.05), which indicated improvements substantially across the neurological status, balance, and activities of daily living after intervention. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the novel RGTS designed was practical, safe, and suitable to use in substantial leg dysfunction with stroke.
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