Therapeutic effects of functional electrical stimulation of the upper limb of eight children with cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 Nov;42(11):724-7. doi: 10.1017/s0012162200001341.


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the upper limb has been used for patients with a variety of neurological conditions, although few studies have been conducted on its use on the upper limb of children with cerebral palsy (CP). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of cyclic FES on the wrist extensor muscles of a group of eight children (five boys, three girls) with hemiplegic CP (mean age 10 years). The study design involved a baseline (3 weeks), treatment (6 weeks), and follow-up (6 weeks). FES was applied for 30 minutes daily during the treatment period of the study. Improvements in hand function (p < or = 0.039) and active wrist extension (p = 0.031) were observed at the end of the treatment period. These improvements were largely maintained until the end of the follow-up period. No significant change was observed in the measurements of wrist extension moment during the treatment period (p = 0.274). Hand function in this group of children improved after they were exposed to FES of wrist extensor muscles. This suggests that FES could become a useful adjunct therapy to complement existing management strategies available for this patient population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / therapy*
  • Child
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wrist / physiology