2016 Volume 28 Issue 3 Pages 769-773
[Purpose] The purpose of this case series was to determine the effects of robot-assisted hand rehabilitation with a Gloreha device on skeletal muscle perfusion, spasticity, and motor function in subjects with poststroke hemiparesis. [Subjects and Methods] Seven patients, 2 women and 5 men (mean ± SD age: 60.5 ±6.3 years), with hemiparesis (>6 months poststroke), received passive mobilization of the hand with a Gloreha (Idrogenet, Italy), device (30 min per day; 3 sessions a week for 3 weeks). The outcome measures were the total hemoglobin profiles and tissue oxygenation index (TOI) in the muscle tissue evaluated through near-infrared spectroscopy. The Motricity Index and modified Ashworth Scale for upper limb muscles were used to assess mobility of the upper extremity. [Results] Robotic assistance reduced spasticity after the intervention by 68.6% in the upper limb. The Motricity Index was unchanged in these patients after treatment. Regarding changes in muscle perfusion, significant improvements were found in total hemoglobin. There were significant differences between the pre- and posttreatment modified Ashworth scale. [Conclusion] The present work provides novel evidence that robotic assistance of the hand induced changes in local muscle blood flow and oxygen supply, diminished spasticity, and decreased subject-reported symptoms of heaviness and stiffness in subjects with post-stroke hemiparesis.