Driven gait orthoses help people relearn to walk again after severe injuries of the nervous system. The Swiss medical technology company Hocoma now introduces a new Lokomat module that provides lateral translation and transverse rotation of the pelvis for a more physiological gait pattern as well as balance activation. VAMED, a leading international healthcare service provider is the first clinic group to offer patients this new generation of gait training at the Swiss rehabilitation clinic Zihlschlacht.
Stroke, craniocerebral or spinal cord injury are some of the main causes forcing patients to relearn to walk again. Robot assisted gait orthoses such as the Lokomat have shown to be an effective intervention for improving overground walking function for many years. Computer-controlled motors stimulate and support the patients that are training on the treadmill and thereby accelerate the neurological rehabilitation process. However, it has been shown that the technological imitation of the human gait pattern is a complicated task.
Hocoma, the Swiss pioneer that developed the Lokomat, has now come much closer to achieving this goal by integrating the natural rotation of the pelvis into the gait training with an new Lokomat module called „FreeD“. With these additional motoric aspects and degrees of freedom the FreeD helps in particular patients in a later stage of rehabilitation with an even more challenging and effective gait training.
New Lokomat Module Celebrates World Premiere in Rehabilitation Clinic Zihlschlacht
Until today VAMED has implemented more than 650 projects in 72 countries worldwide and continues to lead the way in innovation and leadership: as the first company VAMED now offers patients the new Lokomat module FreeD in the Swiss rehabilitation clinic Zihlschlacht, a leading competence center for neurological rehabilitation for patients from Switzerland and abroad. The installation in further VAMED clinics is planned.
Since one and a half years, Zihlschlacht is part of the VAMED group that has already gained expertise as the leading provider of private rehabilitation services in Austria and the Czech Republic. To further expand the leadership of the Swiss clinic Zihlschlacht, VAMED invests CHF 20 Mio. (16,4 Mio. Euro) in its expansion and focuses on innovative technologies and highly effective medical treatment.
Weight Shift and Balance Activation – Even Closer to Natural Walking
With the new Lokomat module important motor aspects such as weight shift over the stance leg and lateral and rotational movements of the pelvis can be integrated into the gait training. This physiological coupling between legs and trunk is realized through a driven pelvis module, a new weight unloading system and movable cuffs at the legs.
Because the FreeD enables a weight shift over the weak or impaired leg, compensatory movement patterns on the non-affected leg are prevented. During the training patients can shift their weight over the stance leg, activate their trunk muscles and experience completely new balance aspects. As an essential part of natural walking, this additional balance activation significantly prolongs the suitable period of the Lokomat training and especially advanced patients can still profit from Lokomat training and prepare for overground walking.
Into the Future with Innovative Technologies
With investments in infrastructure and highly innovative technologies, such as the FreeD, the VAMED Group is setting a new standard of performance in the field of neurological rehabilitation. By using latest high-tech robotic devices in the Rehabilitation Clinic Zihlschlacht, patients can benefit from a broad portfolio of therapeutic options tailored to their individual needs.
Dr. med. Daniel Zutter, medical director at Zihlschlacht: „The FreeD module is a significant innovation in the field of gait training. We are proud to be the leader in the use of rehabilitation technology for neurological patients. We can now offer them an even more effective rehabilitation and prepare them for independent overground walking.“
About the Rehabilitation Clinic Zihlschlacht
Zihlschlacht – the largest purely neurological rehabilitation clinic in Switzerland – is specialized in the treatment of neurological patients and focuses on their reintegration into daily life. The clinic offers 118 beds for inpatient treatment, outpatient rehabilitation services, a day-care rehabilitation center and a general practitioner’s practice. There are special departments for early rehabilitation, for psycho-mentally severely affected patients, and the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain. A further special focus is on the treatment of all forms of Parkinson syndrome. Zihlschlacht is one of the leading neurorehabilitation clinics in the Ger-man-speaking area and is a leader when it comes to the use of robot-assisted therapy devices integrated into a broad and individual therapy program. The modern buildings and the carefully renovated historic structures of the Rehabilitation Clinic Zihlschlacht integrate perfectly well into the idyllic countryside at the heart of the Thurgau Canton between St. Gallen and the Lake of Constance.
Hocoma was set up in 2000, as a spin-off of the Swiss University Hospital Balgrist. The company currently employs more than 150 people at its headquarters near Zurich, Switzerland and at its subsidiaries in the US, Singapore and Slovenia. Hocoma develops and produces therapy solutions for neurological patients with movement disorders caused by stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or other neurological diseases and injuries as well as for low back pain patients. The product range features devices for intensive locomotion therapy (Lokomat®), functional therapy of the upper extremities (Armeo®), early rehabilitation and patient mobilization (Erigo®) as well as functional movement therapy within low back pain treatment (Valedo®). Hocoma’s products are applied successfully in clinics and research institutes worldwide. This medical technology company has received many awards and was honored with the "Red Herring 100 Global Award" in January 2010, as one of the hundred most innovative companies worldwide. Hocoma generated a turnover of more than 30 million CHF in 2012. Dr. Gery Colombo is the CEO of Hocoma AG.
Founded in 1982, VAMED has become the leading global provider of a full line of services for hospitals and other health care facilities. The group has implemented around 650 projects in 72 countries on four continents. VAMED’s portfolio ranges from project development, planning and turnkey equipment via maintenance, technical, commercial and infrastructure services to the total operational management of health care facilities. With its portfolio of services, VAMED covers the entire range of health care, from wellness and preventive medicine via medical care and nursing to aftercare and rehabilitation. VAMED is Austria’s leading private provider of rehabilitation services and, through VAMED Vitality World, the company is also Austria's largest operator of thermal spas and health resorts. In the year 2012, the VAMED group was responsible for some 13,000 staff worldwide, generating a volume of business of about €1,400 million.