A robotic device as a sensitive quantitative tool to assess upper limb impairments in stroke patients: A preliminary prospective cohort study
This prospective cohort study compared kinematic indices in 10 age-matched healthy subjects and 10 stroke patients by evaluating various tasks performed with the REAplan® robotic device, with the aim of providing an objective and standardized protocol to assess upper limb impairments in stroke patients. Various kinematic indices were analysed from 3 randomly assigned tasks (large-amplitude, targeted, and geometrical movements) performed by the affected arm in stroke patients and the dominant arm in healthy subjects. For large-amplitude movements, the stroke patients' path lengths were less constant in amplitude, less rectilinear and less smooth than those for healthy subjects (p < 0.001). For targeted movements, the stroke patients' path lengths were less rectilinear than those of the healthy subjects (p < 0.001). For geometrical movements, the stroke patients had greater difficulty making the requested shapes compared with the healthy subjects (p < 0.01). Researchers suggested further randomized controlled trials could use this quantitative tool to assess efficacy of treatments such as robot-assisted therapy.