Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 3, 2010
   Pages 213 — 224

Abstract — Multiple sclerosis and mobility-related assistive technology: Systematic review of literature

Ana Souza, MS;1-2 Annmarie Kelleher, MS, OTR/L;1-2 Rosemarie Cooper, MPT;1-2 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1-2* Lisa I. Iezzoni, MD, MSc;3-4 Diane M. Collins, PhD1-2

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 4Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Abstract — Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes a wide variety of neurological deficits, with ambulatory impairment the most obvious cause of disability. Within 10 to 15 years of disease onset, 80% of persons with MS experience gait problems due to muscle weakness or spasticity, fatigue, and loss of balance. To facilitate mobility, persons with MS frequently use mobility assistive technology (MAT), such as canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters. We systematically reviewed the published literature on MAT use among persons with MS. We used electronic reference lists such as Ovid MEDLINE and PubMed to search the literature. We located 50 articles that met the initial criteria of providing good evidence of the types of MAT devices and their benefits for individuals with MS. A limited number of articles with higher levels of evidence was found regarding benefits of MAT use specifically for persons with MS. Evidence-based literature provides the basis for the strongest method of measurable clinical performance; therefore, having a strong research study design is vital to the justification of MAT prescription and reimbursement decisions. However, a paucity of studies with higher levels of evidence-based practice exists.

Key words: assistive technology, cane, level of evidence, mobility, multiple sclerosis, quality of life, rehabilitation, scooter, walker, wheelchair.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:14 PM