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Effects of Functional Electric Stimulation on Upper Limb Motor Function and Shoulder Range of Motion in Hemiplegic Patients

Wang, Ray-Yau PhD; Yang, Yea-Ru PhD; Tsai, Mei-Wun MS; Wang, Wendy T. J. PhD; Chan, Rai-Chi MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: April 2002 - Volume 81 - Issue 4 - p 283-290
Research Articles: Hemiplegia

Wang RY, Yang YR, Tsai MW, Wang WTJ, Chan RC: Effects of functional electric stimulation on upper limb motor function and shoulder range of motion in hemiplegic patients. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2002;81:283–290.

Objectives The present study examines functional electric stimulation (FES) applied on patients with hemiplegia of short and long duration for the purpose of upper limb motor recovery and increasing shoulder range of motion.

Design Patients with hemiplegia with subluxation participating in the study were placed into a short-duration group or a long-duration group. Subjects in each group were then randomly assigned to either the control or the experimental subgroup. The experimental groups of both short- and long-duration groups received FES therapy in which the supraspinatus and posterior deltoid muscles were induced to contract repetitively up to 6 hr a day for 6 wk. Duration of FES session and muscle contraction/relaxation ratio were progressively increased as performance improved. The experimental groups also received a second 6-wk FES therapy 6 wk after completing the first FES therapy.

Results After the first 6-wk FES therapy, the experimental group of short-duration hemiplegia showed significant improvements in motor recovery as indicated by Fugl-Meyer scores compared with the control group. Such significant improvement did not occur for the experimental group of long-duration hemiplegia. The changes in the second FES treatment program were insignificant.

Conclusions This study suggests that patients with hemiplegia of short duration are effectively trained by FES for motor recovery.

From the Faculty of Physical Therapy, National Yang-Ming University (RYW, YRY, MWT, WTJW), and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Veterans General Hospital (RCC), Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Supported by the National Science Council of the Republic of China, grant NSC 88–2314-B-010-091, and an award from the Medical Research and Advancement Foundation in memory of Dr. Chi-Shuen Tsou.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Ray-Yau Wang, PhD, Faculty of Physical Therapy, National Yang-Ming University, 155, Sec 2, Li-Nong Street, Shih-Pai, Taipei, Republic of China.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.