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St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital recently became the first facility in Central Texas to acquire and use the ReWalk© Rehabilitation system to help patients with spinal cord injuries stand, walk and navigate slopes and uneven terrain independently.

ReWalk is a wearable, motor-driven robotic device that’s worn outside clothing. The bionic suit—which weighs approximately 44 pounds—allows patients to walk by detecting shifts within their sense of balance and then moving their legs in a natural gait.

ReWalk is controlled by on-board computers and motion sensors, enabling user-initiated walking. ReWalk controls movement using subtle changes in the patient’s center of gravity. The forward movement of the patient is sensed by the system, which triggers a step. Repeated shifts in body position generate a sequence of steps, which allows for natural and efficient walking.

By keeping users upright on a regular basis and exercising their paralyzed limbs, ReWalk reduces most of the health problems associated with long-term wheelchair use, including thinning of the bones and pressure sores, as well as problems with their urinary, respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive systems. ReWalk users also report improvements in their psychological well-being by having the ability to communicate with people at eye level.

St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital is one of only two healthcare facilities in Texas to use this technology.

The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV (ABC) recently featured St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital patient, Joe Fischer, 25, and his inspiring experience with the ReWalk.

Click here to read the Austin American-Statesman article.

Click here to view the KVUE-TV story.

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