Clinical utility of the over-ground bodyweight-supporting walking system Andago in children and youths with gait impairments
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Background The Andago is a rehabilitation robot that allows training walking over-ground while providing bodyweight unloading (BWU). We investigated the practicability, acceptability, and appropriateness of the device in children with gait impairments undergoing neurorehabilitation. Concerning appropriateness, we investigated whether (i) stride-to-stride variability of the stride time and inter-joint coordination was higher when walking over-ground in Andago versus treadmill walking, and (ii) activation of antigravity leg muscles decreased with higher levels of BWU. Methods Eighteen children and adolescents with gait impairments participated in three sessions. Practicability was assessed by determining the time needed to get a patient in and out of Andago, the accuracy of the BWU system, and other aspects. Acceptability was assessed by patients responding to questions, while six therapists filled out the System Usability Scale. To determine appropriateness, the participants were equipped with surface electromyography (sEMG) electrodes, electrogoniometers and accelerometers. Various parameters were compared between walking over-ground and on a treadmill, and between walking with three different levels of BWU (median: 20%, 35% and 50% of the bodyweight) over-ground. Results Practicability: the average time needed to get in and out of Andago amounted to 60 s and 16 s, respectively. The BWU system seemed accurate, especially at higher levels. We experienced no technical difficulties and Andago prevented 12 falls. However, participants had difficulties walking through a door without bumping into it. Acceptability: after the second session, nine participants felt safer walking in Andago compared to normal walking, 15 preferred walking in Andago compared to treadmill walking, and all wanted to train again with Andago. Therapists rated the usability of the Andago as excellent. Appropriateness: stride-to-stride variability of stride duration and inter-joint coordination was higher in Andago compared to treadmill walking. sEMG activity was not largely influenced by the levels of BWU investigated in this study, except for a reduced M. Gluteus Medius activity at the highest level of BWU tested. Conclusions The Andago is a practical and well-accepted device to train walking over-ground with BWU in children and adolescents with gait impairments safely. The system allows individual stride-to-stride variability of temporospatial gait parameters without affecting antigravity muscle activity strongly. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03787199. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Pages / Article No.
SubjectCerebral palsy; Rehabilitation technology; Pediatric neurorehabilitation; Stride‑to‑stride variability; Bodyweight unloading; Over‑ground bodyweight support; Practicability; Feasibility
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