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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9346374, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9346374
Research Article

Effects of Arm Weight Support Training to Promote Recovery of Upper Limb Function for Subacute Patients after Stroke with Different Levels of Arm Impairments

1Occupational Therapy Department, Kowloon Hospital, Hospital Authority, Kowloon, Hong Kong
2Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
3Rehabilitation Department, Kowloon Hospital, Hospital Authority, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Received 12 February 2016; Revised 9 June 2016; Accepted 22 June 2016

Academic Editor: Giovanni Morone

Copyright © 2016 Irene H. L. Chan et al. 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

Purpose. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of arm weight support training using the ArmeoSpring for subacute patients after stroke with different levels of hemiplegic arm impairments. Methods. 48 inpatients with subacute stroke, stratified into 3 groups from mild to severe upper extremity impairment, were engaged in ArmeoSpring training for 45 minutes daily, 5 days per week for 3 weeks, in addition to conventional rehabilitation. Evaluations were conducted at three measurement occasions: immediately before training (T1); immediately after training (T2); and at a 3-week follow-up (T3) by a blind rater. Results. Shoulder flexion active range of motion, Upper Extremity Scores in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), and Vertical Catch had the greatest differences in gain scores for patients between severe and moderate impairments, whereas FMA Hand Scores had significant differences in gain scores between moderate and mild impairments. There was no significant change in muscle tone or hand-path ratios between T1, T2, and T3 within the groups. Conclusion. Arm weight support training is beneficial for subacute stroke patients with moderate to severe arm impairments, especially to improve vertical control such as shoulder flexion, and there were no adverse effects in muscle tone.