Abstract

Patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in their second decade of life present with decreased upper extremity strength and active range of motion (AROM) that limit activities of daily living (ADLs). We evaluated the ability of the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) to improve AROM and independence with ADLs. A retrospective chart review of 9 patients who trialed the WREX was performed. Patients were classified on the basis of the Brooke Upper Extremity Scale. AROM, strength, and independence with ADLs were assessed before and after a WREX trial. Patients demonstrated increased shoulder flexion and abduction (25°–100°, median = 55°) and elbow flexion (10°–110°, median = 60°). Increased independence with self-feeding, item retrieval, use of phones and tablets, and facial grooming were noted. The WREX allowed for gravity-reduced movement via elastic bands to unweight the upper extremity, enabling increased upper extremity active movement that supported increased independence with ADLs.

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