Pressure-Controlled Treadmill Training in Chronic Stroke: A Case Study With AlterG

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Abstract

Background and Purpose:

Body-weight–supported treadmill training has been shown to be an effective intervention to improve walking characteristics for individuals who have experienced a stroke. A pressure-controlled treadmill utilizes a sealed chamber in which air pressure can be altered in a controlled manner to counteract the effects of gravity. The focus of this case study was to assess the immediate and short-term impact of a pressure-controlled treadmill to improve gait parameters, reduce fall risk, improve participation, and reduce the self-perceived negative impact of stroke in an individual with chronic stroke.

Case Description:

The subject was an 81-year-old man (14.5 months poststroke). He had slow walking speed, poor endurance, and multiple gait deviations.

Intervention:

The subject trained 4 times per week for 4 weeks (40 minutes per session) on a pressure-controlled treadmill (AlterG M320) to counter the influence of gravity on the lower extremities.

Outcomes:

Following training, self-selected gait speed increased from 0.50 m/s to 0.96 m/s, as measured by the 10-meter walk test. Stride length increased from 0.58 m to 0.95 m after training and to 1.00 m at 1-month follow-up. Peak hip flexion increased from 3.7° to 24.6° after training and to 19.4° at 1-month follow-up. Peak knee flexion increased from 19.4° to 34.3° after training and to 42.7° at 1-month follow-up. Measures of endurance, fall risk, and percentage of perceived recovery also were found to improve posttraining.

Discussion:

Training with a pressure-controlled treadmill may be a viable alternative to traditional body-weight-supported treadmill training for persons poststroke. Additional studies with larger sample sizes are needed to elucidate the role of pressure-controlled treadmill training in this population.

Video Abstract available

for more insights from the authors (see Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A97).

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