Objective: The aim of this study was to review the literature on clinical applications of the Hybrid Assistive Limb system for gait training.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using Web of Science, PubMed, CINAHL and clinicaltrials.gov and additional search was made using reference lists in identified reports. Abstracts were screened, relevant articles were reviewed and subject to quality assessment.
Results: Out of 37 studies, 7 studies fulfilled inclusion criteria. Six studies were single group studies and 1 was an explorative randomized controlled trial. In total, these studies involved 140 participants of whom 118 completed the interventions and 107 used HAL for gait training. Five studies concerned gait training after stroke, 1 after spinal cord injury (SCI) and 1 study after stroke, SCI or other diseases affecting walking ability. Minor and transient side effects occurred but no serious adverse events were reported in the studies. Beneficial effects on gait function variables and independence in walking were observed.
Conclusions: The accumulated findings demonstrate that the HAL system is feasible when used for gait training of patients with lower extremity paresis in a professional setting. Beneficial effects on gait function and independence in walking were observed but data do not allow conclusions. Further controlled studies are recommended.