Treadmill training augmented with real-time visualisation feedback and function electrical stimulation for gait rehabilitation after stroke : a feasibility study

Phongamwong, Chanwit and Rowe, Philip and Chase, Karen and Kerr, Andrew and Millar, Lindsay (2019) Treadmill training augmented with real-time visualisation feedback and function electrical stimulation for gait rehabilitation after stroke : a feasibility study. BMC Biomedical Engineering, 1. 20. ISSN 2524-4426

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    Abstract

    Background:  Stroke rehabilitation often uses the motor relearning concept that require patients to perform active practice of skill-specific training and to receive feedback. Treadmill training augmented with real-time visualisation feedback and functional electrical stimulation may have a beneficial synergistic effect on motor recovery. This study aims to determine the feasibility of this kind of enhanced treadmill training for gait rehabilitation among patients after stroke. Methods:  A system for dynamic visualisation of lower-limb movement based on 3-dimensional motion capture and a computer timed functional electrical stimulation system was developed. Participants received up to 20-min enhanced treadmill training instead of their over-ground gait training once or twice a week for 6 weeks at Coathill hospital, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom. Number of training sessions attended, and training duration were used to assess feasibility. Ankle kinematics in the sagittal plane of walking with and without functional electrical stimulation support of the pre-tibial muscles were also compared and used to confirm the functional electrical stimulation was triggered at the targeted time Results:  Six patients after stroke participated in the study. The majority of participants were male (5/6) with a age range from 30 to 84 years and 4/6 had left hemiplegia. All participants suffered from brain infarction and were at least 3 months after stroke. Number of training sessions attended ranged from 5 to 12. The duration of training sessions ranged from 11 to 20 min. No serious adverse events were reported. The computerised functional electrical stimulation to the pre-tibial muscles was able to reduce plantar flexion angle during the swing phase with statistical significance (p= 0.015 at 80%;p= 0.008 at 90 and 100% of the gait cycle).Conclusions:It is safe and feasible to use treadmill gait training augmented with real-time visual feedback and computer-controlled functional electrical stimulation with patients after stroke in routine clinical practice. Trial registration: NCT03348215. Registered 20 November 2017.