Effects of Upper Extremity Robot – Assisted Therapy in Poststroke Rehabilitation

Judita Petro1, Justas Krištopaitis1, Laura Adomaitytė1

1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania


Cerebrovascular accident or stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and loss of motor function. Millions of people around the world are effected by it each year. Stroke results in disabled arm function and rehabilitation is a major part of patient care. Restoration of arm function is essential to regaining activities of daily living. Many research efforts are focused on designing maximally effective and efficient treatment methods. Along with traditional rehabilitation methods, robot-aided therapy has emerged in recent years. Robot-aided rehabilitation is more intensive, of longer duration and more repetitive with  less effort than would be required for traditional methods. Using robots, repetitive dull exercises can turn into a more challenging and motivating tasks such as games. Besides, robots can provide a quantitative measure of the rehabilitation progress. This article overviews the development of robot-aided upper-limb rehabilitation, rehabilitation theories, evaluation of treatment and classification of hand rehabilitation robots. It continues by investigating the requirements for rehabilitation robots. Then the training modes and clinical outcomes of the built robots in real-life applications are described. Use of robot assisted therapy in upper extremity rehabilitation has demonstrated improvements in functional outcomes, but careful comparisons between methods remain to be done. Future work should include controlled clinical trials and comparisons of effectiveness of different methods for patients with different abilities and needs in order to inform future development of patient-specific therapeutic protocols.

Keywords: upper extremity, robot assisted therapy, poststroke rehabilitation