Comprehensive, technology-based, team approach for a patient with locked-in syndrome: A case report of improved function & quality of life

Keara McNair, Madeline Lutjen, Kara Langhamer, Jeremiah Nieves, Kimberly Hreha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of the most severe types of stroke is locked-in syndrome (LIS) due to the loss of almost all voluntary motor functions and a high mortality rate. The majority of the literature regarding LIS is based on case reports that utilized multidisciplinary interventions focused on improving functional communication and respiratory care with minimal focus on motor retraining. These reports were neither dynamic nor multi-sensory, and the only technology utilized was in the form of augmentative communication. There are additional types of technology frequently used in the general stroke population that can address similar motor deficits that occur in the LIS population. This case report explains an interdisciplinary approach using motor and communication interventions that are multisensory, progressive, multi-modal, and technology- based. The length of stay was 153 days in acute rehabilitation, after which the patient returned home making significant gains in overall function. In this patient, the FIM changes in motor (+42), cognitive (+29) and total change score of (+71) surpassed what was determined to be a minimal clinically important difference. These results suggest that this treatment program and approach may be a key reason why this patient was able to achieve significant functional gains and report improved quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalAssistive Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • activities of daily living
  • mobility
  • outcomes, rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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