Upper Limb Robotic Rehabilitation After Stroke: A Multicenter, Randomized Clinical Trial

FDG Robotic Rehabilitation Group, Irene Aprile, Marco Germanotta, Arianna Cruciani, Simona Loreti, Cristiano Pecchioli, Francesca Cecchi, Angelo Montesano, Silvia Galeri, Manuela Diverio, Catuscia Falsini, Gabriele Speranza, Emanuele Langone, Dionysia Papadopoulou, Luca Padua, Maria Chiara Carrozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: After stroke, only 12% of survivors obtain complete upper limb (UL) functional recovery, while in 30% to 60% UL deficits persist. Despite the complexity of the UL, prior robot-mediated therapy research has used only one robot in comparisons to conventional therapy. We evaluated the efficacy of robotic UL treatment using a set of 4 devices, compared with conventional therapy. METHODS: In a multicenter, randomized controlled trial, 247 subjects with subacute stroke were assigned either to robotic (using a set of 4 devices) or to conventional treatment, each consisting of 30 sessions. Subjects were evaluated before and after treatment, with follow-up assessment after 3 months. The primary outcome measure was change from baseline in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) score. Secondary outcome measures were selected to assess motor function, activities, and participation. RESULTS: One hundred ninety subjects completed the posttreatment assessment, with a subset (n = 122) returning for follow-up evaluation. Mean FMA score improvement in the robotic group was 8.50 (confidence interval: 6.82 to 10.17), versus 8.57 (confidence interval: 6.97 to 10.18) in the conventional group, with no significant between-groups difference (adjusted mean difference -0.08, P = 0.948). Both groups also had similar change in secondary measures, except for the Motricity Index, with better results for the robotic group (adjusted mean difference 4.42, P = 0.037). At follow-up, subjects continued to improve with no between-groups differences. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Robotic treatment using a set of 4 devices significantly improved UL motor function, activities, and participation in subjects with subacute stroke to the same extent as a similar amount of conventional therapy. Video Abstract is available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at: http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A291).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurologic physical therapy : JNPT
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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