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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2796815, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Hand Passive Mobilization Performed with Robotic Assistance: Acute Effects on Upper Limb Perfusion and Spasticity in Stroke Survivors

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
2Laboratory of Clinical Integrative Physiology, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
3Laboratory of Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, Teresa Camplani Foundation, Brescia, Italy
4IRCCS Don Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy
5Functional Rehabilitation Service, Teresa Camplani Foundation, Brescia, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Massimiliano Gobbo; ti.sbinu@obbog.onailimissam

Received 21 February 2017; Accepted 17 July 2017; Published 28 September 2017

Academic Editor: Vida Demarin

Copyright © 2017 Massimiliano Gobbo 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.


This single arm pre-post study aimed at evaluating the acute effects induced by a single session of robot-assisted passive hand mobilization on local perfusion and upper limb (UL) function in poststroke hemiparetic participants. Twenty-three patients with subacute or chronic stroke received 20 min passive mobilization of the paretic hand with robotic assistance. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to detect changes in forearm tissue perfusion. Muscle tone of the paretic UL was assessed by the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). Symptoms concerning UL heaviness, joint stiffness, and pain were evaluated as secondary outcomes by self-reporting. Significant () improvements were found in forearm perfusion when all fingers were mobilized simultaneously. After the intervention, MAS scores decreased globally, being the changes statistically significant for the wrist (from to ; ) and fingers (from to ; ). Subjects reported decreased UL heaviness and stiffness after treatment, especially for the hand, as well as diminished pain when present. This study supports novel evidence that hand robotic assistance promotes local UL circulation changes, may help in the management of spasticity, and acutely alleviates reported symptoms of heaviness, stiffness, and pain in subjects with poststroke hemiparesis. This opens new scenarios for the implications in everyday clinical practice. Clinical Trial Registration Number is NCT03243123.