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AutoAmbulator: Robotic Gait Training

AutoAmbulator: Robotic Gait TrainingHealthSouth is doing more than offering the latest healthcare technologies … it’s creating them. The AutoAmbulator® brings cutting-edge technology into the rehabilitation process. The AutoAmbulator is an innovative therapeutic device designed to help rehabilitate patients who experience difficulty walking from a Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, and other neurologic conditions that result in gait abnormality or debilitation from deconditioning or prolonged illness.

Body-Weight-Supported Treadmills
Body-weight-supported treadmills help people who have difficulty walking, or who are unable to walk, to experience or relearn walking.

In one early study, Martha Visintin, MSc and her colleagues involved 100 patients, two to three months post stroke, and divided them into traditional therapy and weight-supported treadmill training groups. Both groups received gait training four times per week in 20 minute sessions. After six weeks, the group that participated in weight-supported treadmill training attained better outcomes for balance, motor recovery, gait velocity and endurance.

In addition, the speed of their walking improved, which is an indicator for reducing fall risk.
Gait therapy can improve the efficiency and speed of one’s walking, which can greatly enhance quality of life.

Body-weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) has its difficulties, however. It is labor intensive for therapists, there is variability from session to session and it is not a cost-effective method to deliver gait training therapy. As a result, it has not found widespread use.

HealthSouth’s Solution:
The AutoAmbulator
In order to take advantage of BWSTT, yet overcome its deficiencies, HealthSouth developed the AutoAmbulator. It is a sophisticated treadmill device that uses body weight support and robotics to help patients experience walking.

The AutoAmbulator allows patients to experience greater walking repetition and a higher intensity of therapy.

The Food and Drug Administration granted HealthSouth permission to begin using the AutoAmbulator in 2002. Designed with numerous safety features, the AutoAmbulator safely holds the patient upright while robotics assist the patient’s legs to walk on a treadmill. Whether an individual has been recently injured or has been unable to walk for years, the AutoAmbulator may help improve strength and function. Patients referred to HealthSouth who have difficulty with walking have the opportunity to ambulate in a safe environment sooner than they would in a traditional rehabilitation program.

To learn more about HealthSouth technologies and view video demonstrations, visit

MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital is a 98-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital that offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and home health services. Serving patients throughout Kansas and Missouri, the hospital is located at 5701 W. 110th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66211 and on the

Web at For more information, call 913-491-2400.

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