Kaitlyn Snyder
Brock University

RT600 FES-ambulation training improves ambulation and quality of life following Stroke: A case study

Background
Following a stroke, ambulation is significantly impaired. Recently, FES-ambulation has emerged, which may optimize locomotor improvements as it is walking-specific and actively recruits leg muscles. The purpose of this case study was to investigate the effects of 8-weeks of FES-ambulation training on locomotor function and quality of life (QOL) following Stroke.

Methods


This case study included a 50-year old woman who suffered a stroke 8 months prior. She had partial paralysis on the right side and could ambulate independently, but relied on a cane at home and a wheelchair in the community. Our participant completed an 8-week, thrice-weekly, FES-ambulation training program using the RT600 (Restorative Therapies; Baltimore, MD). Over-ground walking was assessed pre and post-training via the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), the 10-meter walk test (10MWT) and the timed get-up-and-go test (TUG). QOL was assessed via the Perceived Quality of Life scale (PQOL), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Center of Epidemiological Studies for Depression scale (CES-D) and a task self-efficacy scale (SES).   

Results
Following training, our participant improved her walking speed during the 10MWT (pre: 0.35m/s vs. post: 0.69 m/s), her walking endurance during the 6MWT (pre: 165.2m vs. 242.0m) and the time she required for the TUG (pre: 32.7s vs. post: 14.9s). Improvements in QOL were also reported, as evidenced by the PQOL (pre: 29 vs. post: 46), PSS (pre: 22 vs. post: 17), CES-D (pre: 25 vs. post: 17), and SES (pre: 63 vs. post: 99). Anecdotally, our participant also relied less on her cane at home, and no longer used a wheelchair in the community.  

Conclusion
Eight weeks of FES-ambulation was associated with improved locomotor function and QOL in an individual 8 months post -Stroke. Further studies with larger samples are warranted.