Robotic Technology for Ambulation Following Spinal Cord Injury: Overview of Investigational Trial Program with an Exoskeleton Lo - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Tue, Apr 5

Speaker: Darell Musik (Clinical Director; Berkeley Bionics E-legs)

Title: Robotic Technology for Ambulation Following Spinal Cord Injury: Overview of Investigational Trial Program with an Exoskeleton Lower Extremity Gait System (eLEGS TM)

Background: Individuals with motor complete paraplegia have limited options for walking Berkeley Bionics has recently developed a mobile, lower-extremity exoskeleton (referred to as eLEGS) specifically designed for patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) . eLEGS is a battery operated, wearable, artificially intelligent, bionic device that allows persons with lower extremity (LE) weakness to stand and walk indoors on level surfaces. A programmable controller is used to interface with motors and sensors for patients with LE weakness that can assist a person to stand and walk with either a walker or crutches over ground with an efficient reciprocal gait pattern.

Methodology: Berkeley Bionics has collaborated with several partner facilities to investigate the usability of the eLEGS device in a rehabilitation setting in a week long program with 2 main goals: 1: determine the safety and efficacy of the eLEGS device with a variety of individuals with SCI to determine inclusion/exclusion variables and 2: Initiate training to Partner Clinical/Research Staff to include patient selection, evaluation, sizing of eLEGS, clinical training and usability for patients with SCI.

Results: To date, 9 subjects with a variety of SCI levels have been completed. Each patient was evaluated by a physical therapist, screened for appropriateness, measured and fitted, instructed in proper use, and walked over ground with eLEGS. At the end of each session a modified 2 min walk test was administered with the most appropriate assistive device determined by PT consensus. In addition to the modified 2 minute walk test, questionnaires were given to the physical therapists and patients following the sessions.

Conclusion: Robotic technology is quickly advancing and has reached a level where SCI professionals will soon need to evaluate robotics as a rehabilitation device in inpatient and outpatient settings. The potential for clients with SCI to functionally walk will necessitate evaluation of feasibility and usability of this technology. This presentation will provide an overview of accumulated data from the completed investigational training weeks and will include results from the modified 2-min walk test, clinician and patient survey information and videos of first and final walks on selected subjects.

Host: William Z. Rymer and Arun Jayaraman