Each year, nearly 800,000 people, will experience a stroke in the United States.1 Thankfully, the survival rate has improved, and over the last 40 years, there has been over a 60% decline in age-adjusted mortality from stroke.2 It is now the nation’s fifth-leading cause of death, down three spots from 2003.3

The Burden of Stroke

As these survival rates have continued to improve, the optimization of recovery following stroke has become even more essential. For survivors, stroke often leads to the severe long-term disability with secondary complications that can leave them unable to work or perform daily living activities without assistance. The direct and indirect costs of stroke in 2014 to 2015 was $45.5 billion, including health care services, medication and lost productivity.4
65% of survivors will receive post-stroke rehabilitation services with the overarching goal of returning patients to their communities. The likelihood of improvement after stroke varies greatly; approximately 35% of survivors with initial paralysis of the leg do not regain useful functions, and 20-25% are unable to walk without full assistance.5 Furthermore, 65% of survivors that initially have flaccid paralysis of the upper extremity are unable to incorporate their affected hand into their usual activities.6

The necessity for Intense Therapy

Starting rehabilitation as soon as possible is necessary to improve patient outcomes.7 During this critical time, there should be a focus on motor learning principles to maximize recovery and function.8

With Robotics, Increase Outcomes and Decrease Effort

Robotic devices are well-suited to address patient impairments seen in the acute and subacute phases of stroke recovery. They can deliver consistent, high-intensity motor therapy, that is programmable by the therapist to meet the specific needs of the patient. Patients with more severe impairments show even more significant benefit of motor function recovery for upper and lower extremities.9-11

Robotic devices also allow therapists to pass off the burden of care and decrease the physical strain and risk of falls to the patients. This will enable therapists to treat more patients efficiently, effectively, and earlier in the course of recovery.