Original research| Volume 101, ISSUE 1, P106-112, January 2020

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Effect of Robot-Assisted Gait Training in a Large Population of Children With Motor Impairment Due to Cerebral Palsy or Acquired Brain Injury

Published:September 25, 2019DOI:



      To evaluate retrospectively the effect of robotic rehabilitation in a large group of children with motor impairment; an additional goal was to identify the effects in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and acquired brain injury (ABI) and with different levels of motor impairment according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System. Finally, we examined the effect of time elapsed from injury on children’s functions.


      A cohort, pretest-posttest retrospective study was conducted.


      Hospitalized care.


      A total of 182 children, 110 with ABI and 72 with CP and with Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-IV, were evaluated retrospectively.


      Patients underwent a combined treatment of robot-assisted gait training and physical therapy.

      Main Outcome Measures

      All the patients were evaluated before and after the training using the 6-minute walk test and the Gross Motor Function Measure. A linear mixed model with 3 fixed factors and 1 random factor was used to evaluate improvements.


      The 6-minute walk test showed improvement in the whole group and in both ABI and CP. The Gross Motor Function Measure showed improvement in the whole group and in the patients with ABI but not in children with CP. The GMFCS analysis showed that all outcomes improved significantly in all classes within the ABI subgroup, whereas improvements were significant only for GMFCS III in children with CP.


      Children with motor impairment can benefit from a combination of robotic rehabilitation and physical therapy. Our data suggest positive results for the whole group and substantial differences between ABI and CP subgroups, with better results for children with ABI, that seem to be consistently related to time elapsed from injury.


      List of abbreviations:

      ABI (acquired brain injury), CP (cerebral palsy), GMFCS (Gross Motor Function Classification System), GMFM (Gross Motor Function Measure), MCID (minimum clinically important difference), PT (physical therapy), RAGT (robot-assisted gait training), 6MWT (6-minute walk test)
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