Objective: To measure functional gait improvements of robotic-assisted locomotion training in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Design: Single case experimental A-B design.
Settings: Rehabilitation Centre Affoltern am Albis, Children's University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland (inpatient group) and Neurology Department of the Dr von Haunersches Children's Hospital Munich, Germany (outpatient group).
Participants: 22 children (mean age 8.6 years, range 4.6 to 11.7) with cerebral palsy (CP) and a Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) Level II to IV underwent robotic-assisted gait training in one of the two centres.
Interventions: 3 to 5 sessions of 45-60 min per week during a 3-5 week period of driven gait orthosis (DGO) training.
Main outcome measures: 10-meter walk test (10MWT), 6-minute walk test (6MinWT), Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66) dimension D (standing) and dimension E (walking), and Functional Ambulation Categories (FAC).
Results: The 10MWT (0.78[plusmn]0.57 to 0.91±0.61m/s; p<0.01) as well as the dimension D of the GMFM-66 (40.3[plusmn]31.3% to 46.6[plusmn]28.7%; p<0.05) improved significantly after the intervention period. The 6MinWT (176.3[plusmn]141.8m to 199.5[plusmn]157.7m), the FAC (2.6[plusmn]1.7 to 3.0[plusmn]1.6) and the dimension E of the GMFM-66 (29.5[plusmn]30.3 to 31.6[plusmn]29.2%) also showed an increase, but did not reach a statistically significant level.
Conclusion: These results suggest that children with CP benefit from robotic-assisted gait training in improving functional gait parameters.