A feasibility study conducted by Kessler Foundation, West Orange, New Jersey, concludes that patients who had experienced a stroke benefited from the use of the Ekso Bionics Ekso™ GT suit for gait training. Eight stroke patients who were prescribed gait training during inpatient rehabilitation training increased their cadence after six weeks of rehabilitation with the assistance of the Ekso GT robotic exoskeleton. The patients underwent gait training using the Ekso device for 25 percent of their total physical therapy time. At the initial gait training session with the Ekso, patients averaged 17.1 steps per minute, which increased to 27.67 steps per minute by the final session. The study, “Gait Training of Stroke Patients using a Robotic Exoskeleton during Inpatient Rehabilitation: Feasibility Study,” was presented by Karen J. Nolan, PhD, a Kessler Foundation research scientist, during the International Workshop of Wearable Robotics in Baiona, Pontevedra, Spain, which was held September 14-19.
According to the study, the Ekso GT proved to be a safe device to use for gait training of stroke survivors in an inpatient rehabilitation environment and especially benefited individuals who were less functionally independent ambulators. At the conclusion of the study, all patients were standing up longer and taking more steps, with approximate standing and walking times with the Ekso GT of 35 and 18 minutes, respectively, per session.