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New Wearable Robotic Device at Lehigh Valley Health Network Helps Stroke Survivors Walk Earlier

EksoNR, a wearable robotic exoskeleton, helps people recovering from stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury relearn to walk

EksoNR, a wearable robotic exoskeleton

Recovering from a stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury can be a long and tedious process. However, physical therapists (PT) at the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest have a new tool to help people relearn how to walk.

“The EksoNR is the latest technology being used to help people recovering from a stroke or spinal cord injury mobilize earlier in their rehabilitation, which will help them achieve optimal results. We are really excited to be using the EksoNR at our inpatient rehabilitation facility at LVH–Cedar Crest,” says Rehabilitation Clinical Specialist Christina Wood, PT, DPT, with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

How the EksoNR works

Wood describes the EksoNR as a backpack or harness that extends down the legs. The device is customizable for patients from 5 feet to 6 feet, 4 inches, and it augments strength to help people relearn to walk in a rehabilitation setting. Most people take an average of 400 steps during initial training with the device.

The wearer may experience an increase in range of motion and activation of muscles they had difficulty with before. PTs can improve their patients’ gait or get them back up to work on balance with the help of EksoNR. This technology can have incredible benefits for patients and help them achieve their highest level of independence.

Wood says the EksoNR also has SmartAssist software, which helps clinicians engage with patients by monitoring their posture, weight-shifting and step patterns. She also says clinicians can use the settings to help people practice balance and sit-to-stand functions.

Wood, along with seven other LVHN clinicians, has received specialized training to work with the EksoNR. The training requires clinicians to log a certain number of hours working with the device.  

“Technology in the rehabilitation world is always progressing, and we are so glad that we can utilize this new equipment at LVHN to help our patients,” Wood says.

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