Bionic Skeleton Puts Paralyzed Stroke Patients on Path to Mobility
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Leading robotic technology now available for inpatient rehabilitation care unit and outpatient physical therapy at Franciscan Health Indianapolis is helping stroke patients get back on their feet and take steps to recovery.
It's called the Ekso GT™ robotic exoskeleton. While the device has been initially used for those with spinal cord injury levels to C7 (vertebrae near the base of the neck), it is the first exoskeleton cleared by the FDA for use with stroke patients.
Ekso GT with Variable Assist™ software is the only exoskeleton available for rehabilitation institutions that can provide adaptive amounts of power to either side of the patient's body, challenging the patient as they progress through their continuum of care. That’s a benefit for those stroke patients whose paralysis affects only one side of the body.
"This is a game-changer for post-stroke gait therapy," said Sachin Mehta, MD, Franciscan Physician Network Rehabilitation Specialists. "Ekso helps mobilize patients earlier and more frequently, and paves the way for improving balance, cadence and the overall steps."
Franciscan Health Indianapolis began using Ekso GT earlier this year for stroke rehabilitation and is the first in Central Indiana to do so. Its sister hospital, Franciscan Health Lafayette Central, was the first in Indiana to deploy the device in 2016.
(Picutred: Donna McClellan is assisted by physical therapists Lindsay Conn (l) and Dana Ellison. McClellan is one of the first patients to undergo rehab with the Ekso robotic system at Franciscan Health Indianapolis.)
(Picutred: Dr. Sachin Mehta and Donna McClellan are joined by physical therapists Leah Bush (l) and Sandy Lin at the completion of one of McClellan’s therapy sessions.)
As part of physical therapy, a patient is positioned in the robotic exoskeleton. The device assists with weight shifting and moving each leg forward, giving way to near-natural gait.
The amount of assistance provided by the exoskeleton can vary by side and adjusted as the patient gets stronger. It allows for patients to begin working on walking earlier in their stroke recovery and can help to improve the patient's functional abilities.
"This challenges the patient as they progress through their rehabilitation and continuum of care," said Dr. Mehta. "The bionic suit is intuitive and easy for patients, as well as for therapists."
For more information about the Ekso system, call (317) 528-8111.
More information about rehabilitation services at Franciscan Health, visit FranciscanHealth.org/rehab.
Featured cover photo courtesy of Ekso Bionics.
By Joe Stuteville
Media Relations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org