Innovative training therapy in an SCI-patient

The impact of rehabilitation on the cardiovascular system and locomotion using training methods based on the recruitment and stimulation of the nervous system - a case study.

Factsheet

Situation

Promoting autonomy and quality of life is an important goal of rehabilitation. People who suffer from a spinal cord injury have a severely impaired sensorimotor and autonomic nervous system due to a partial or complete interruption of communication between the brain and spinal cord. This disorder often leads to a physical inability to move, followed by the development of life-threatening symptoms.

Course of action

This case study will verify and validate unexpected cardiovascular and motor functions results which have been observed, following a specific rehabilitation regime, in one individual suffering from a chronic cervical SCI (AIS C, with a total lower extremity motor score of 0, injury level C6-7). We will investigate the preliminary efficacy of different pre-training and training conditions using three different devices (an active standing frame enabling locomotion like movements - EasyStand, a multi-functional powered rehabilitation tricycle with intelligent stimulation capacity - Go-Tryke Easy, and a walking frame - Red Device) on heart rate, blood pressure and the ability to stand and walk in one individual with a chronic cervical SCI who suffers from autonomic dysfunction. These results will be used to design a subsequent pilot intervention study where already-consolidated training parameters (training measures, training dosage) will be integrated from this single-case evaluation.

Looking ahead

This case study is embedded in a multidisciplinary project linking rehabilitation, technology, informatics (BFH-TI [Engineering and Information Technology]), physiotherapy and training science (BFH-G [Health]). This multidisciplinary team will work on the whole development process, from technological innovation to the proof of efficacy of the therapy (functional assessments before/after therapy, and user experience evaluation). This case study will provide a link between an ongoing study by Swiss Paraplegic Research (qualitative study on the use of the Go-Tryke with 25 patients, 2023 (SwiSCI project N° 2020-N-008)) and an Innosuisse project by BFH-GBY (Go-Tryke combined with paralyzed limb stimulation, iXES 2022-2023 (Innovation project N° 56397.1 IP-LS)). It is essential to scientifically verify and validate previously observed results, providing data to optimize training and rehabilitation. This data will furthermore help the development of new training devices specifically adapted and designed to the needs of the paraplegic and tetraplegic population. This project will demonstrate cross disciplinary collaborations in an innovative therapeutic and technical field and provide preliminary data for a pilot study and subsequent clinical studies.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being