BACKGROUND While Walkbot-assisted locomotor training (WLT) provided ample evidence on balance and gait improvements, the therapeutic effects on cardiopulmonary and psychological elements as well as fall confidence are unknown in stroke survivors .
OBJECTIVE The present study aimed to compare the effects of Walkbot locomotor training (WLT) with conventional locomotor training (CLT) on balance and gait, cardiopulmonary and psychological functions and fall confidence in acute hemiparetic stroke .
METHODS Fourteen patients with acute hemiparetic stroke were randomized into either the WLT (60 min physical therapy + 30 min Walkbot-assisted gait training) or CLT (60 min physical therapy + 30 min gait training) groups , 7 days/week over 2 weeks . Clinical outcomes included the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Functional Ambulation Category (FAC), heart rate (HR), Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (BRPE), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and the activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) scale . The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted at P <0.05 .
RESULTS ANCOVA showed that WLT showed superior effects, compared to CLT, on FAC, HR, BRPE, BDI-II, and ABC scale (P <0.05), but not on BBS (P = 0.061).
CONCLUSIONS Our results provide novel, promising clinical evidence that WLT improved balance and gait function as well as cardiopulmonary and psychological functions, and fall confidence in acute stroke survivors who were unable to ambulate independently.