Is body-weight-supported treadmill training or robotic-assisted gait training superior to overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy in people with spinal cord injury? A systematic review

J. Mehrholz*, L. A. Harvey, S. Thomas, B. Elsner

*Corresponding author for this work
75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study design:: Systematic review about randomised trials comparing different training strategies to improve gait in people with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Objectives:: The aim of this systematic review was to compare the effectiveness of body-weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) and robotic-assisted gait training with overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy in people with traumatic SCI. Setting:: Systematic review conducted by researchers from Germany and Australia. Methods:: An extensive search was conducted for randomised controlled trials involving people with traumatic SCI that compared either BWSTT or robotic-assisted gait training with overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy. The two outcomes of interest were walking speed (m s−1) and walking distance (m). BWSTT and robotic-assisted gait training were analysed separately, and data were pooled across trials to derive mean between-group differences using a random-effects model. Results:: Thirteen randomised controlled trials involving 586 people were identified. Ten trials involving 462 participants compared BWSTT to overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy, but only nine trials provided useable data. The pooled mean (95% confidence interval (CI)) between-group differences for walking speed and walking distance were −0.03 m s−1 (−0.10 to 0.04) and −7 m (−45 to 31), respectively, favouring overground gait training. Five trials involving 344 participants compared robotic-assisted gait training to overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy but only three provided useable data. The pooled mean (95% CI) between-group differences for walking speed and walking distance were −0.04 m s−1 (95% CI −0.21 to 0.13) and −6 m (95% CI −86 to 74), respectively, favouring overground gait training. Conclusions:: BWSTT and robotic-assisted gait training do not increase walking speed more than overground gait training and other forms of physiotherapy do, but their effects on walking distance are not clear.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpinal Cord
Volume55
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)722-729
Number of pages8
ISSN1362-4393
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-07 Clinical Neurology Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology

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