Tomoko Mutoh, Tatsushi Mutoh, Hirokazu Tsubone, Makoto Takada, Misato Doumura, Masayo Ihara, Hideo Shimomura, Yasuyuki Taki and Masahiro Ihara. Impact of Long-Term Hippotherapy on the Walking Ability of Children With Cerebral Palsy and Quality of Life of Their Caregivers Front. Neurol., 13 August 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.00834
Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent motor disorder that occurs at birth or during early infancy. Despite advances in fetal and maternal medicine, the incidence of CP remains high. Hippotherapy has gradually been recognized as an excellent rehabilitation tool for children with CP. However, a scientific basis for how it achieves long-term functional improvements or provides additional benefits to patients' caregivers remains unknown.
Objectives: We performed a prospective trial to determine how hippotherapy affects the gross motor and gait functions in children with CP and how it may also impact the quality of life (QOL) of patients' caregivers.
Methods: In total, 24 children with CP (11 boys, 13 girls; age: 4–14 years; Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] II-III) underwent a program (30 min/day, once a week) of hippotherapy or day-care recreation (control) over a 1-year intervention and a 3-month follow-up period. Assessment measures used for the children were gait parameters for a 5-m walk test, Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM)-66, and GMFM dimension-E (GMFM-E). The QOL of the caregivers was estimated using a brief version of the World Health Organization Quality Of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) self-assessment questionnaire.
Results: In addition to better GMFM-66 and GMFM-E scores, hippotherapy was associated with increased cadence, step length, and mean acceleration; stabilized horizontal/vertical displacement of patients; and better relationship between the psychological status and QOL of the caregivers than those seen in the control group (p < 0.05). Additionally, the initially improved children's step length and their caregivers' psychological QOL domain (particularly in the “positive feeling” facet) tended to be preserved up to the 3-month follow-up.
Conclusion: These data suggest that compared with common day-care recreational activities, a 1-year program of once-weekly hippotherapy can improve not only the walking ability of children with CP but also the psychological health and QOL of their caregivers.
Mutoh T, Mutoh T, Tsubone H, Takada M, Doumura M, Ihara M, Shimomura H, Taki Y, Ihara M. Effect of hippotherapy on gait symmetry in children with cerebral palsy: A pilot study. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2019 May;46(5):506-509.
We aimed to investigate the effect of hippotherapy on gait symmetry in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Twelve children with Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels II-IV received weekly hippotherapy lesson for 1 year. Gait analyses were performed during a 5-m walking test, using a portable, tri-axial accelerometer-based motion recorder. The baseline symmetry index derived from the Lissajous index (LI) figure before hippotherapy was greater than the LI in age-matched normal subjects (P < 0.01). Hippotherapy was associated with a decreased LI (-10.4 ± 4.9%, P = 0.018) and an improved GMFCS score (-0.6 ± 0.7, P = 0.02). These data suggest that hippotherapy has a beneficial effect on symmetry of the trunk movement in children with CP.
Mutoh T, Mutoh T, Tsubone H, Takada M, Doumura M, Ihara M, Shimomura H, Taki Y, Ihara M. Impact of serial gait analyses on long-term outcome of hippotherapy in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Feb;30:19-23.
The aim of this study was to obtain data of gait parameters on predicting long-term outcome of hippotherapy. In 20 participants (4-19 years; GMFCS levels I to III) with cerebral palsy (CP), gait and balance abilities were examined after 10-m walking test using a portable motion recorder. Hippotherapy was associated with increased Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM)-66 at 1 year from the baseline (P < 0.001). Hippotherapy increased stride length, walking speed, and mean acceleration and decreased horizontal/vertical displacement ratio over time (P < 0.05). Stride length and mean acceleration at 6 weeks predicted the elevation of GMFM-66 score. These data suggest that 1-year outcome of hippotherapy on motor and balance functions can be assessed from the early phase by serial monitoring of the gait parameters.
Mutoh T, Mutoh T, Takada M, Doumura M, Ihara M, Taki Y, Tsubone H, Ihara M. Application of a tri-axial accelerometry-based portable motion recorder for the quantitative assessment of hippotherapy in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Oct;28(10):2970-2974.
[Purpose] This case series aims to evaluate the effects of hippotherapy on gait and balance ability of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy using quantitative parameters for physical activity. [Subjects and Methods] Three patients with gait disability as a sequela of cerebral palsy (one female and two males; age 5, 12, and 25 years old) were recruited. Participants received hippotherapy for 30 min once a week for 2 years. Gait parameters (step rate, step length, gait speed, mean acceleration, and horizontal/vertical displacement ratio) were measured using a portable motion recorder equipped with a tri-axial accelerometer attached to the waist before and after a 10-m walking test. [Results] There was a significant increase in step length between before and after a single hippotherapy session. Over the course of 2 year intervention, there was a significant increase in step rate, gait speed, step length, and mean acceleration and a significant improvement in horizontal/vertical displacement ratio. [Conclusion] The data suggest that quantitative parameters derived from a portable motion recorder can track both immediate and long-term changes in the walking ability of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy undergoing hippotherapy.