WalkAide Efficacy on Gait and Energy Expenditure in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of WalkAide functional electrical stimulation on gait pattern and energy expenditure in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

Design

Seventeen children were assigned to the study group, whose members received functional electrical stimulation (pulse width, 300 μs; frequency, 33 Hz, 2 hours/d, 3 days/week for 3 consecutive months). Seventeen other children were assigned to the control group, whose members participated in a conventional physical therapy exercise program for 3 successive months. Baseline and posttreatment assessments were performed using the GAITRite system to evaluate gait parameters and using an open-circuit indirect calorimeter to evaluate energy expenditure.

Results

Children in the study group showed a significant improvement when compared with those in the control group (P < 0.005). The gait parameters (stride length, cadence, speed, cycle time, and stance phase percentage) after treatment were (0.74 m,119 steps/min, 0.75 m/s, 0.65 s, 55.9%) and (0.5 m,125 steps/min, 0.6 m/s, 0.49 s, 50.4%) for the study group and control group, respectively. The mean energy expenditures after treatment were 8.18 ± 0.88 and 9.16 ± 0.65 mL/kg per minute for the study and control groups, respectively.

Conclusions

WalkAide functional electrical stimulation may be a useful tool for improving gait pattern and energy expenditure in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

To Claim CME Credits:

Complete the self-assessment activity and evaluation online at http://www.physiatry.org/JournalCME

CME Objectives:

Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) Identify gait abnormalities in children with hemiplegic CP; (2) Describe the impact of utilizing the WalkAide on energy expenditure during gait training in children with hemiplegic CP; and (3) Describe the benefits of including the WalkAide in the treatment of gait abnormalities in children with hemiplegic CP.

Level:

Advanced

Accreditation:

The Association of Academic Physiatrists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Association of Academic Physiatrists designates this activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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