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IMMEDIATE CLINICAL IMPROVEMENT SEEN AFTER BALANCE BODY TORSO WEIGHTING (BBTW) IN A
PATIENT WITH SEVERE, CHRONIC CEREBELLAR ATAXIA
Andrea Ecsedy PT, NCS, DPT
PURPOSE: To assess if the application of
Balance Body Torso Weighting (BBTW) on a
patient with chronic and severe cerebellar
ataxia would result in measurable and objective
change.
CASE DESCRIPTION: 52 year old man who
suffered a brain injury, status post a ranching
accident resulting in diffuse axonal damage 7
years ago.
FUNCTION: Limited household ambulation with
minimal assistance using a front wheeled
walker. The patient’s activity level has remained
unchanged over the course of the past seven
years. Currently, the patient struggles with
frequent falls which occur primarily while
transferring or ambulating.
GOAL: Patient’s goal is to be able to perform
safe transfers without losses of balance and to
ambulate with minimal supervision and
improved confidence.
INTERVENTION: Patient was assessed for BalanceWear vest and weighting utilizing Balance Body
Torso Weighting (BBTW) assessment protocol. Patient performed tests listed below, before and
after vest application.
TABLE: Same session results with and without addition of BBTW
TEST
Pre BBTW
Post BBTW
Difference
MDC
threshold
Gait velocity
.60 m/sec
1.36 m/sec
.76 m/sec *
.17 m/sec
TUG
32 sec
28 sec
4 sec *
4 sec
2MWT
70 .4 m
86 m
15.6
16.4 m
Within same session (*) indicates MDC was met
CONCLUSION: Application of BBTW resulted in immediate, measurable and objective change in
this patient’s balance and gait despite the chronic nature of his condition. Qualitative assessment
of the patient’s gait also revealed improved fluidity of movement with improved posture. The
patient also reported an increase in his confidence while transferring and moving.
CLINICAL MERIT: This patient had demonstrated a functional plateau since his initial course of
rehabilitation which was completed 7 years ago. His activity level had significantly declined over
the past 5 years secondary to frequent falls as well as an increasing lack of confidence in his
ability to change position and ambulate. Improvements in his balance and confidence were
demonstrated by increases in gait speed and distance . Consequently allowing this patient to
engage in new and more challenging activities. Patient was able to resume physical therapy with
the addition of BBTW because of these improvements.
Pre BBTW
Post BBTW
REFERENCES: Widener, GL, Alien DD, Gibson-Horn C. Randomized clinical trial of Balance Body Torso
Weighting for improving upright mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair
2009;23:784-791
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