Treadmill training augmented with real-time visualisation feedback and function electrical stimulation for gait rehabilitation after stroke: a feasibility study

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Motor rehabilitation typically requires patients to perform task-specific training, in which biofeedback can be instrumental for encouraging neuroplasticity after stroke. Treadmill training augmented with real-time visual feedback and functional electrical stimulation (FES) may have a beneficial synergistic effect on this process. This study aims to develop a multi-channel FES (MFES) system with stimulation triggers based on the phase of gait cycle, determined using a 3D motion capture system. A feasibility study was conducted to determine whether this enhanced treadmill gait training systemis suitable for stroke survivors in clinical practice. The real-time biomechanical visual feedback system with computerised MFES was developed using six motion-capture cameras installed around a treadmill.This system was designed to stimulate the pretibial muscle for correcting foot drop problems, gastro-soleus for facilitating push-off, and quadriceps and hamstring for improving knee stability. Dynamic avatar movement and step length/ratio were displayed on a monitor, providing patients with real-time visual biofeedback. Participants received up to 20 minutes of enhanced treadmill training once or twice per week for 6 weeks. Training programme, pre- and post-training ability, and adverse events of each participant were recorded. Feedback was also collected from participants and physiotherapists regarding their experience. Eight out of ten participants fully completed their programme.In total, 67 training sessions were carried out. All participants had a good attendance rate. The number and duration of training sessions ranged from 5 to 20, and 11 to 20 minutes, respectively. The MFES system successfully improved gait patterns during training, and feedback from participants and physiotherapists regarding their experience of the research intervention was overwhelmingly positive. In conclusion, this enhanced treadmill gait training system is feasible for use in gait rehabilitation after stroke. However, a well-designed clinical trial with a larger sample size is needed to determine clinical efficacy on gait recovery.
Date of Award11 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorPhilip Rowe (Supervisor) & Andy Kerr (Supervisor)

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