Effects of functional electric stimulation on upper limb motor function and shoulder range of motion in hemiplegic patients

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Apr;81(4):283-90. doi: 10.1097/00002060-200204000-00007.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder Dislocation / etiology
  • Shoulder Dislocation / rehabilitation
  • Shoulder Joint*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors