Columbus Dispatch/10TV: EKSO Suit
Only of its kind in central Ohio, makes big difference for neurological & spinal cord injury patients
When someone has a spinal cord injury, it can change everything. Your normal, routine world can come crashing down. An injury like this can lead to long hospital stays, and even longer recovery and rehabilitation sessions.
But at the OhioHealth Rehabilitation Hospital, that recovery has a new tool and one that might look to be straight out of the future.
The Ekso Bionics EksoGT, an intuitive, robotic exoskeleton that connects to a patient, and can be controlled by trained therapists, assisting the patient with lift and push to get them walking again.
“It was great for me. It gave me a different sensation from what I’ve been through thus far, and it’s given me the added confidence that I can get the strength back in my legs,” said David Evans to Columbus Dispatch reporter JoAnne Viviano.
Evans was paralyzed after surgery for a mass on his spine. When he arrived at the OhioHealth Rehabilitation Hospital, he was unable to get out of his wheelchair and walk. After a few sessions with the EKSO suit, he was taking hundreds of steps a day, with an ultimate goal of walking on his own before he was discharged.
“It adapts to what the patient’s doing performance-wise, and it only provides the assistance where the patient needs it,” said Erin Rogers, a physical therapist who leads the EksoGT team at OhioHealth told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s amazing. It excites me every time.”
The OhioHealth Rehabilitation Hospital is the only site in central Ohio that has the EKSO suit for adults. Some patients start using the suit right away and see major success. Others, for various reasons, choose to only use it a few times or maybe even once. But those who have used the suit multiple times, have seen improvements according to therapists.
LeSean Mangum is another patient who tried the EksoGT and responded immediately.
"We would typically walk with him a little bit beforehand, put him in the Ekso, work in more of a controlled setting to try to duplicate that normalized gate that we wanted him to have," Rogers told 10TV.
Mangum's goal is to be walking on his own again, to be able to keep up with his daughter, who is also learning to walk at a young age.
"She gets very excited when she comes to see me, and sees me up and moving, that is motivation for sure," Magnum said.
Magnum is recovering from a stroke and says this device has allowed him to have something that was hard at first during his hospital stay, hope.
"That's our goal, getting people back to living more of an independent life, and having this technology not only helps the patient but helps our staff do better too," Rogers said.
The EKSO suit device can give feedback to therapists to know how the patient is doing, where the struggles might be happening, and adjustt based on those numbers to work on specifics in real time.