Robot-Assisted Training as Self-Training for Upper-Limb Hemiplegia in Chronic Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Stroke. 2022 Mar 29:101161STROKEAHA121037260. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.037260. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to examine whether robotic self-training improved upper-extremity function versus conventional self-training in mild-to-moderate hemiplegic chronic stroke patients.

METHODS: Study design was a multi-center, prospective, randomized, parallel-group study comparing three therapist-guided interventions (1-hour sessions, 3×/wk, 10 weeks). We identified 161 prospective patients with chronic, poststroke, upper-limb hemiplegia treated at participating rehabilitation centers. Patients were enrolled between November 29, 2016, and November 12, 2018 in Japan. A blinded web-based allocation system was used to randomly assign 129 qualifying patients into 3 groups: (1) conventional self-training plus conventional therapy (control, N=42); (2) robotic self-training (ReoGo-J) plus conventional therapy (robotic therapy [RT], N=44); or (3) robotic self-training plus constraint-induced movement therapy (N=43).

PRIMARY OUTCOME: Fugl-Meyer Assessment for upper-extremity.

SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Motor Activity Log-14 amount of use and quality of movement; Fugl-Meyer Assessment shoulder/elbow/forearm, wrist, finger, and coordination scores; Action Research Arm Test Score; Motricity Index; Modified Ashworth Scale; shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and finger range of motion; and Stroke Impact Scale (the assessors were blinded). Safety outcomes were adverse events.

RESULTS: Safety was assessed in 127 patients. An intention-to-treat full analysis set (N=121), and a per-protocol set (N=115) of patients who attended 80% of sessions were assessed. One severe adverse event was recorded, unrelated to the robotic device. No significant differences in Fugl-Meyer Assessment for upper-extremity scores were observed between groups (RT versus control: -1.04 [95% CI, -2.79 to 0.71], P=0.40; RT versus movement therapy: -0.33 [95% CI, -2.02 to 1.36], P=0.90). The RT in the per-protocol set improved significantly in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment for upper-extremity shoulder/elbow/forearm score (RT versus control: -1.46 [95% CI, -2.63 to -0.29]; P=0.037).

CONCLUSIONS: Robotic self-training did not improve upper-limb function versus usual self-training, but may be effective combined with conventional therapy in some populations (per-protocol set).

REGISTRATION: URL:; Unique identifier: UMIN000022509.

PMID:35345897 | DOI:10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.037260

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