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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 5 (2014), Issue 1, Pages 55-66
http://dx.doi.org/10.1260/2040-2295.5.1.55
Research Article

The Influence of Dynamic Orthosis Training on Upper Extremity Function after Stroke: A Pilot Study

Rodrigo Cappato de Araújo,1 Daniel Neves Rocha,2 Ana Carolina Rodarti Pitangui,1 and Marcos Pinotti3

1Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pernambuco, Petrolina, PE, Brazil
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Minas Gerais, Congonhas, MG, Brazil
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 1 May 2013; Accepted 1 November 2013

Copyright © 2014 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The goal of this study was to assess the use of a dynamic orthosis on upper extremity function in chronic stroke patients. A case series approach was utilized, with provision of a training program (3x/week, 50 minutes/session for 8 weeks) and employment of a dynamic orthosis. Six volunteers with persistent hemiparesis due to a single, unilateral stroke performed task-oriented movements with the aid of a dynamic orthosis. Tests were administered before and after training. Functional capacity was assessed using the TEMPA (Test d'Évaluation des Membres Supérieurs de Personnes Âgées) test. The Wilcoxon test was used for pre-training and post-training comparisons of TEMPA scores. The volunteers showed significant improvement of upper extremity function in the performance of a bilateral task (p = 0.01) and three unilateral tasks (p = 0.04). This pilot study suggests that the dynamic orthosis associated with the performance of functional tasks can have positive outcomes regarding the improvement of functional capacity of upper extremity.