DMD : an Australian study highlights the benefits of vertical wheelchairs

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common myopathy in young boys. Due to a complete and genetically determined dystrophin deficiency, it causes progressive proximal muscle weakness and, in the longer term, cardio-respiratory complications responsible for premature death. Loss of walking occurs on average around the age of twelve, with the adolescent becoming dependent on a wheelchair, most often electric, for their movements.

In an article published in July 2020, Australian clinicians explored the supposed benefits of so-called stand-up wheelchairs, which allow the person to stand up independently. Fourteen adolescents (median age 12.9 years) with DMD, as well as their family circle, participated in a survey spanning twelve months. The use of the stand-up module was filmed in 11 out of 14 cases. All the participants had the same model of stand-up chair, a Levo C3, and had undertaken to use it for at least one hour per day (in fractions 10 minutes minimum if necessary) for twenty weeks. According to the authors, the experience has been positive. The range of motion remained stable over the observation period and painful phenomena were contained. The study of several psychosocial parameters have also shown a positive impact for the adolescent concerned and those around him.


Benefits of powered standing wheelchair devices for adolescents with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the first year of use. Bayley K, Parkinson S, Jacoby P, Cross D, Morris S, Vorster N, Schofield C, Kava M, Siafarikas A, Evans K, Gaynor O, Chiu L, Ryan MM, Cairns A, Clark D, Downs J. J Paediatr Child Health. 2020 Jul 3. doi: 10.1111/jpc.14963. [Epub ahead of print]