Sustainability of motor performance after robotic-assisted treadmill therapy in children: an open, non-randomized baseline-treatment study

Borggraefe I, Kiwull L, Schaefer JS, Koerte I, Blaschek A, Meyer-Heim A, Heinen F

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2010 Jun;46(2):125-31

PMID: 20485217


AIM: The aim of the study was to investigate the sustainability of motor improvements achieved after a three week trial of robotic assisted treadmill therapy in children and adolescents with central gait disorders within a follow up period of about six months.

METHODS: Open, non-randomized, baseline-treatment study. Fourteen patients (mean age 8.2+/-5.4) underwent a trial of 12 sessions of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy using the Lokomat over a period of three weeks. Outcome measures were the dimensions D (standing) and E (walking) of the Gross Motor Function Measure, the ten meter walking test and the six minute walking test. Outcome variables were evaluated immediately before and after the trial and at a follow up of about six months.

RESULTS: Improvements after the trial in the dimension D from 49.5% to 54.4% (P=0.008) and from 38.9% to 42.3% (P=0.012) in the dimension E of the GMFM were seen and are within the same range of previously published results. The mean score at the follow up after six months was 56.8% and 43.3% for dimension D and E, respectively. Gait speed improved from 0.80 m/s to 1.01 m/s (P=0.006) after the trial and was 1.11 m/s at the follow-up visit at six months. Similar results were obtained for endurance.

CONCLUSION: The improvements of motor function after a three-week trial of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy appear to be sustained after a mean period of six months.