Robotic technology (ROBERT®) to enhance muscle strength in the hip flexor muscles following spinal cord injury: a feasibility study

S L Sørensen*, I Poulsen, L A Harvey, F Biering-Sørensen, J F Nielsen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde


STUDY DESIGN: Feasibility study.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of conducting a large trial designed to determine whether the ROBERT® can be used to increase the strength of the hip flexor muscles after spinal cord injury (SCI). The ROBERT® is a robotic device that provides assisted active movement while supporting the weight of the leg. Focus was on recruitment capability, suitability, and acceptability of the intervention and outcome measure.

SETTING: Specialised SCI centre in Denmark.

METHODS: All first-time admitted patients were screened to assess participant recruitment capability. Four people with SCI < 3 months tested a protocol consisting of 60 repetitions of hip flexion in supine conducted with the assistance of the ROBERT® three times a week for 4 weeks. Feasibility was assessed based on adherence to the protocol and completion rate and from the participants' perspectives. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) was accessed at baseline and four weeks.

RESULTS: The recruitment rate was 8% (7 months). The four participants completed 44 out of 48 sessions (92%). No adverse events occurred. One physiotherapist was required to set-up and supervise each session. The active exercise time varied from 7.5 to 17 min. The participants found the ROBERT® a good supplement to their usual rehabilitation. We were able to measure MVC in even very weak hip flexor muscles with a dynamometer MicroFET2 fixed to a frame.

CONCLUSION: The ROBERT® was feasible and acceptable. The participants perceived it as a supplement, not a replacement to usual physiotherapy. However, recruitment to the study was slow.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT05558254. Registered 28th September 2022.

TidsskriftSpinal cord series and cases
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)20
StatusUdgivet - 10 apr. 2024


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