Body weight support treadmill and overground ambulation training for two patients with chronic disability secondary to stroke

Ellen Winchell Miller, Matthew E Quinn, Patricia Gawlik Seddon
Physical Therapy 2002, 82 (1): 53-61

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Body weight support (BWS) treadmill training has recently been shown to be effective for gait training following stroke, but few researchers have measured the usefulness of this intervention in enhancing function, and there are no reports in which BWS overground ambulation was studied. The purposes of this case report were (1) to report the feasibility and patient tolerance for using a BWS system for overground ambulation, (2) to measure the function of patients with chronic stroke (2 years post-stroke) prior to and following BWS treadmill and overground ambulation training, and (3) to describe a protocol used for patient treatment progression using BWS treadmill training.

CASE DESCRIPTIONS: The participants were 2 women, aged 87 and 93 years, who had strokes more than 2 years before data collection. A 10-m timed walk test, the Berg Balance Scale, the gait portion of the Tinetti Gait and Balance Assessment, and a measure of step length were administered. Intervention consisted of BWS ambulation training 3 times a week for 6 to 7 weeks. Each day there was BWS treadmill and overground training.

OUTCOMES: Participant A improved most in 10-m walking time and Berg Balance Scale score. Participant B exhibited improvements in step length and 10-m walking time.

DISCUSSION: The outcomes suggest that very old patients with chronic functional deficits secondary to cerebrovascular accident tolerated BWS treadmill and overground ambulation training and made improvements following this intervention.

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