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The ReWalk Powered Exoskeleton to Restore Ambulatory Function to Individuals With Thoracic-Level Motor-Complete Spinal Cord Injury

By Esquenazi, Alberto; Talaty, Mukul; Packel, Andrew; Saulino, Michael; American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 91, Number 11, pages 911-921
Publication Date: November 2012

Study assessed the safety and performance of the ReWalk powered exoskeleton in enabling people with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury (SCI) to perform routine ambulatory functions. The ReWalk is described as a powered exoskeleton that contains independently controlled bilateral hip and knee joint motors, rechargeable batteries, and a computerized control system carried in a backpack. ReWalk users control their walking through subtle trunk motion and changes in center of gravity. Study participants were 4 women and 8 men with thoracic level motor-complete SCI who ranged in age between 18 and 55 years. The training program consisted of sit-to-stand and standing activities using parallel bars, progressing to crutch use, with the bulk of the training focused on improving and integrating walking performance. Following training, all participants were able to independently transfer and walk, without human assistance while using the ReWalk, for at least 50 to 100 meters continuously, for a period of at least 5 to 10 minutes continuously and with velocities ranging from 0.03 to 0.45 meters per second. Excluding two participants with considerably reduced walking abilities, average distances and velocities improved significantly. Some participants reported improvements in pain, bowel and bladder function, and spasticity during the trial. All participants had strong positive comments regarding the emotional and psychosocial benefits of the use of the ReWalk. Most participants achieved a level of walking proficiency close to that needed for limited community ambulation. Future goals for the development and application of this rehabilitation tool are discussed.
Published by: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins   (Website:http://www.lww.com)

Association of Academic Physiatrists    (Web Site: http://physiatry.org )
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J64861

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