The ergonomic and adjustable arm support is an exoskeleton with integrated springs. It embraces the whole arm, from shoulder to hand, and counterbalances the weight of the patient's arm, enhancing any residual function and neuromuscular control, and assisting active movement across a large 3D workspace.
The Armeo software contains an extensive library of game-like movement exercises supported by a virtual-reality training environment that is both motivating and informative, clearly displaying the functional task along with immediate performance feedback. The motivating and self-initiated exercises include proximal and distal components, specifically related to:
- grasp and release
- pro- / supination
- wrist flexion / extension
- reach and retrieval function
The equipment detects even trace amounts of movement and function and facilitates intensive reach and grasp exercises at an early stage of therapy.
Besides functional exercises, the system contains exercises specifically designed to assess the motor ability and coordination of patients. Built-in sensors record the active arm movement at each joint during all therapy sessions and the performance data is stored in the computer, where it can be used to assess and document the patient’s progress, to determine the next appropriate challenge and to promote the optimum therapy and best possible outcomes. The Armeo software supplies accurate assessments through the options A-MOVE, A-GOAL and A-ROM.
Clinical evaluation of therapy utilizing ArmeoSpring was conducted at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The randomized controlled trial compared Armeo therapy to conventional, self-directed therapy in 28 moderately to severely impaired chronic stroke patients and the following findings were reported (Housman et al., 2009):
- Better long term outcomes
- Significantly better outcome in motor ability (FuglMeyer) at 6 months follow up
- Increased motivation
- Patients were clearly in favor of Armeo therapy compared to conventional, self-directed therapy. It was described as “more beneficial” and “less boring” than conventional table-top therapy
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