Efficacy of Upper Extremity Robotic Therapy in Subacute Poststroke Hemiplegia: An Exploratory Randomized Trial

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Background and Purpose—

Our aim was to study the efficacy of robotic therapy as an adjuvant to standard therapy during poststroke rehabilitation.


Prospective, open, blinded end point, randomized, multicenter exploratory clinical trial in Japan of 60 individuals with mild to moderate hemiplegia 4 to 8 weeks post stroke randomized to receive standard therapy plus 40 minutes of either robotic or self-guided therapy for 6 weeks (7 days/week). Upper extremity impairment before and after intervention was measured using the Fugl–Meyer assessment, Wolf Motor Function Test, and Motor Activity Log.


Robotic therapy significantly improved Fugl–Meyer assessment flexor synergy (2.1±2.7 versus −0.1±2.4; P<0.01) and proximal upper extremity (4.8±5.0 versus 1.9±5.5; P<0.05) compared with self-guided therapy. No significant changes in Wolf Motor Function Test or Motor Activity Log were observed. Robotic therapy also significantly improved Fugl–Meyer assessment proximal upper extremity among low-functioning patients (baseline Fugl–Meyer assessment score <30) and among patients with Wolf Motor Function Test ≥120 at baseline compared with self-guided therapy (P<0.05 for both).


Robotic therapy as an adjuvant to standard rehabilitation may improve upper extremity recovery in moderately impaired poststroke patients. Results of this exploratory study should be interpreted with caution.

Clinical Trial Registration—

URL: http://www.umin.ac.jp/. Unique identifier: UMIN000001619.

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