Background: The efficacy of upper limb (UL) robot-assisted therapy (RAT) on functional improvement after stroke remains unclear. However, recently published randomized controlled trials have supported its potential benefits in enhancing the activities of daily living, arm and hand function, and muscle strength. Task-specific and high-intensity exercises are key points in facilitating motor re-learning in neurorehabilitation since RAT can provide an assisted-as-needed approach. This study aims to investigate the clinical effects of an exoskeleton robotic system for UL rehabilitation compared with conventional therapy (CT) in people with subacute stroke. As a secondary aim, we seek to identify patients’ characteristics, which can predict better recovery after UL-RAT and detects whether it could elicit greater brain stimulation. Methods: A total of 84 subacute stroke patients will be recruited from 7 Italian rehabilitation centers over 3 years. The patients will be randomly allocated to either CT (control group, CG) or CT plus UL-RT through an Armeo®Power (Hocoma AG, CH, Volketswil, Switzerland) exoskeleton (experimental group, EG). A sample stratification based on distance since onset, DSO (DSO ≤ 30; DSO > 30), and Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FM)-UL (FM-UL ≤ 22; 22 < FM-UL ≤ 44) will be considered for the randomization. The outcomes will be recorded at baseline (T0), after 25 + 3 sessions of intervention (T1), and at 6 months post-stroke (T2). The motor functioning assessed by the FM-UL (0–66) will be considered the primary outcome. The clinical assessments will be set based on the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF). A patient satisfaction questionnaire will be evaluated in the EG at T1. A subgroup of patients will be evaluated at T0 and T1 via electroencephalography. Their brain electrical activity will be recorded during rest conditions with their eyes closed and open (5 min each). Conclusion: The results of this trial will provide an in-depth understanding of the efficacy of early UL-RAT through a whole arm exoskeleton and how it may relate to the neural plasticity process. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrial.gov with the registration identifier NCT04697368.

Neurophysiological and Clinical Effects of Upper Limb Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation on Motor Recovery in Patients with Subacute Stroke: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial Study Protocol

Morone G.
Writing – Review & Editing
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background: The efficacy of upper limb (UL) robot-assisted therapy (RAT) on functional improvement after stroke remains unclear. However, recently published randomized controlled trials have supported its potential benefits in enhancing the activities of daily living, arm and hand function, and muscle strength. Task-specific and high-intensity exercises are key points in facilitating motor re-learning in neurorehabilitation since RAT can provide an assisted-as-needed approach. This study aims to investigate the clinical effects of an exoskeleton robotic system for UL rehabilitation compared with conventional therapy (CT) in people with subacute stroke. As a secondary aim, we seek to identify patients’ characteristics, which can predict better recovery after UL-RAT and detects whether it could elicit greater brain stimulation. Methods: A total of 84 subacute stroke patients will be recruited from 7 Italian rehabilitation centers over 3 years. The patients will be randomly allocated to either CT (control group, CG) or CT plus UL-RT through an Armeo®Power (Hocoma AG, CH, Volketswil, Switzerland) exoskeleton (experimental group, EG). A sample stratification based on distance since onset, DSO (DSO ≤ 30; DSO > 30), and Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FM)-UL (FM-UL ≤ 22; 22 < FM-UL ≤ 44) will be considered for the randomization. The outcomes will be recorded at baseline (T0), after 25 + 3 sessions of intervention (T1), and at 6 months post-stroke (T2). The motor functioning assessed by the FM-UL (0–66) will be considered the primary outcome. The clinical assessments will be set based on the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF). A patient satisfaction questionnaire will be evaluated in the EG at T1. A subgroup of patients will be evaluated at T0 and T1 via electroencephalography. Their brain electrical activity will be recorded during rest conditions with their eyes closed and open (5 min each). Conclusion: The results of this trial will provide an in-depth understanding of the efficacy of early UL-RAT through a whole arm exoskeleton and how it may relate to the neural plasticity process. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrial.gov with the registration identifier NCT04697368.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/235828
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