Clinical application of neuromuscular electrical stimulation induced cardiovascular exercise

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011:2011:3266-9. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090887.


We need to find novel ways of increasing exercise participation, particularly in those populations who find it difficult to participate in voluntary exercise. In recent years researchers have started to investigate the potential for using electrical stimulation to artificially stimulate a pattern of muscle activity that would induce a physiological response consistent with cardiovascular exercise. Work to date has indicated that this is best achieved by using a stimulation protocol that results in rapid rhythmical isometric contractions of the large leg muscle groups at sub tetanic frequencies. Studies completed by our group indicate that this technique can serve as a viable alternative to voluntary cardiovascular exercise. Apart from being able to induce a cardiovascular exercise effect in patient populations (e.g. heart failure, COPD, spinal cord injury, obesity), this approach may also have value in promotion of exercise activity in a microgravity environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Exercise*
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Weightlessness