Research press release


Nature Medicine

Biomedical engineering: Exoskeleton improves walking in patients with above-knee amputation

股関節部を覆う自律型のパワードエクソスケルトンが大腿切断患者の歩行を改善するという臨床試験初期結果が、Nature Medicineに報告された。


今回T Lenziたちは、6人の大腿切断者(男性4人、女性2人、平均年齢33.8歳)で、股関節部を覆う自律型パワードエクソスケルトンの装着が、トレッドミル上を毎秒1メートルの速度で歩いた場合と、歩道を12メートル歩いた場合にどのような効果を及ぼすかを検証した。股関節部を覆うエクソスケルトンの使用は、標準的な義足を装着した場合と比較すると、歩行の代謝コストを平均して15.6%下げることが分かった。この改善は、大腿切断していない人が背負っていた重さ12キログラムのリュックサックを下ろしたのに匹敵する。このエクソスケルトンを装着した被験者は全員が、歩行状態に悪い影響を受けることなく、より長く歩けるようになった。


An autonomous, powered hip exoskeleton capable of improving walking for people with above-knee amputation is presented in an early-stage clinical study published in Nature Medicine.

For the millions of people with above-knee amputation, walking with leg prostheses currently available is highly energy inefficient, which limits their mobility. Autonomously powered hip exoskeletons have been shown to reduce the metabolic cost of — or the energy demands associated with — walking in young people who have not undergone amputation. However, their use by people with above-knee amputation has not yet been tested.

Tommaso Lenzi and colleagues tested the efficacy of a powered hip exoskeleton for six people (four male, two female; average age of 33.8 years) with above-knee amputation, as they walked on a treadmill at a speed of 1 metre per second and also as they walked on a 12-meter walkway. The authors found that — compared with the metabolic cost of using a standard prosthesis — use of the hip exoskeleton, on average, reduced the metabolic cost of walking by 15.6%. This improvement is equivalent to removing a 12-kg backpack from a person who has not undergone amputation. All participants were additionally able to walk with the exoskeleton without a negative effect on their gait.

The authors indicate the need for future clinical studies to optimize the device and to assess its efficacy for people with different types of amputation and with varying potential for rehabilitation.

doi: 10.1038/s41591-021-01515-2


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