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Original report

Contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation improves wrist dorsiflexion and upper limb function in patients with early-phase stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Yu Zheng, Mao Mao, Yinghui Cao, Xiao Lu
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 610041 Chengdu, China

DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2510

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of contralaterally controlled functional
electrical stimulation (CCFES) on the recovery of active wrist dorsiflexion and upper limb function in patients with early-phase stroke (<15 days post-stroke).
Methods: Patients in the CCFES group were treated with routine rehabilitation combined with CCFES, while those in the conventional neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) group were treated with routine rehabilitation combined with NMES. Time intervals from stroke onset to appearance of wrist dorsiflexion, and from onset of treatment to appearance of wrist dorsiflexion were recorded (in days). Functional assessments were also performed at baseline and endpoint.
Results: Nineteen out of 21 patients in the CCFES group and 12 out of 20 patients in the NMES group regained active wrist dorsiflexion during the treatment and follow-up period (90.5% vs 60%, p =  0.025). The mean time interval from onset of treatment to appearance of active wrist dorsiflexion was signifcantly shorter in the CCFES group than in the NMES
group (p < 0.001). The CCFES group had signifcantly higher scores for upper extremity
function (p =  0.001), strength of extensor carpi (p =  0.002), active ROM for wrist dorsiflexion (p =  0.003), activities of daily living score (p =  0.023) and ICF score (p < 0.001) than the NMES group at the endpoint.
Conclusion: CCFES signifcantly shortened the time for regaining wrist dorsiflexion, and improved the upper extremity function and general health of patients with early-phase stroke. CCFES therefore has potential as a clinical intervention.

Lay Abstract

After a stroke, it is essential that recovery of function of the upper limb is maximized in order to enable activities of daily living. The hand plays an important role in the function of the upper limb. This study examined the effectiveness of contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation (CCFES) on recovery of active dorsiflexion of the wrist and upper limb functioning in patients in the early-phase after stroke (<15 days post-stroke). CCFES significantly shortened the time for regaining wrist dorsiflexion, and improved the upper extremity function and general health of patients with early-phase stroke, compared with conventional neuromuscular electrical stimulation. CCFES therefore has potential as a clinical intervention.

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