Studies were eligible if they evaluated robot-assisted gait rehabilitation programmes aimed at improving gait function in adults (18 years or older) with an incomplete or complete acute or chronic spinal cord injury at the cervical, thoracic or lumbar level. Eligible studies had to assess walking (speed, endurance or independence), step length, balance, spasticity, walking aids, support by others, activities of daily living, quality of life and/or social participation. Patients could have an American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA Impairment Scale) score of A, B, C or D (scores were defined in the review).
All but one of the included studies evaluated the Lokomat robot-assisted device; one study evaluated the LokoHelp device. Control interventions (where these existed) included one or more of: treadmill training with manual or therapist assistance; treadmill training with stimulation; and over-the-ground training with stimulation or a mobile system. Duration of treatment ranged from six to 12 weeks.
All of the included studies involved patients with an incomplete spinal cord lesion; injury levels ranged from C3 to T12. The time after injury ranged from 14 days to 23 years. Patients ranged in age from 20 to 64 years.
Studies used different methods to assess outcomes (details were reported).
Two reviewers then independently selected studies from the identified articles.