Limited evidence for effectiveness of electromechanical and robot-assisted arm training after stroke

Clinical question: 
How effective is electromechanical and robot-assisted arm training for improving activities of daily living after stroke?
Bottom line: 
Patients who receive electromechanical and robot-assisted arm training after stroke are not more likely to improve their activities of daily living, but arm motor function and strength of the paretic arm may improve. It is, therefore, not clear if such devices should be applied in routine rehabilitation, or when and how often they should be used.
Caveat: 
These results must be interpreted with caution because there were variations between the trials in the duration, amount of training and type of treatment, and in patient characteristics.
Context: 
The role of electromechanical and robot-assisted training for improving arm function after stroke is unclear. More than two-thirds of all patients after stroke have difficulties with reduced arm function. Electromechanical and robot-assisted arm training uses specialised machines to assist rehabilitation in practice.
Review CD#: 
CD006876
PEARLS No: 
143
Date: 
March, 2009
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy