Abstract W P141: Anti-Gravity Treadmill Training Leads to Superior Walking Ability Compared to Conventional Physical Therapy in Chronic Community Dwelling Stroke Survivors
The Anti-gravity (AG) treadmill is a new modality, initially used by athletes and astronauts allowing precise unweighting up to 80% of body weight. Patients are enclosed in a cockpit which unweights by filling with air, allowing patients to be safely progressed at higher speed and longer durations than the conventional treadmill. Only a few case studies report outcomes of stroke patients using this system.
Methods: We trialled the AG system on 9 (5 men, 4 women) community dwelling, chronic stroke patients between 6/2014 and 8/2014 as part of an outpatient physical therapy (PT) program. 7/9 patients received AG treatment following conventional treadmill training, while 2 began new PT treatments with the AG system. Endurance was measured with the standardized 6 minute walk test before initiation and after completion of AG system treatments. Various other PT and stroke outcomes were measured.
Results: 8 ischemic and 1 hemorrhage stroke patients with average age 63 (49-79); average NIHSS of 7.9 (range 3-15) and Modified Rankin Scores of 4 for 5 patients and 3 for 4 were treated an average of 21.4(range 11-86) months post stroke. Patients received an average of 5 sessions (2-8) over an average of 2.8 weeks ((1-4). Blood Pressures monitored pre and post each treatment were stable. No adverse complications or pain occurred. All patients reported subjectively experiencing improvement in gait quality with AG system use. 89% (8/9) patients had improved 6" walk test scores following AG treatments. 7/9 patients had received conventional treadmill training during skilled PT prior to initiation of AG treatments. In the 1 month prior to AG treatment, 3/7 of these patients had worsening of 6" walk scores; 2/7 improved, and 2/7 had no change. Of the 7/9 patients receiving AG treatment following usual treadmill training, 6/7 had improved 6" walk scores (range 2-17%). 6 minute walk scores improved by 81% and 1% in 2 patients initiating AG training without preceding treadmill training. All patients had improved walking duration and speed on AG compared to traditional treadmill.
Conclusions: AG treadmill treatment was reported to be positive and led to improved walking and endurance compared to conventional treadmill training in this pilot group of chronic community dwelling stroke patients.
Author Disclosures: H. Popp: None. J. Breen: None. T. Ferlito: None. S. Kiley: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.