Review of transcranial direct current stimulation in poststroke recovery

Top Stroke Rehabil. 2013 Jan-Feb;20(1):68-77. doi: 10.1310/tsr2001-68.


Motor impairment, dysphagia, aphasia, and visual impairment are common disabling residual deficits experienced by stroke survivors. Recently, many novel rehabilitative modalities have been investigated for their potential to ameliorate such deficits and to improve functional outcomes. Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), have emerged as a promising tool to facilitate stroke recovery. tDCS can alter cortical excitability to induce brain plasticity by modulating the lesioned, contralesional, or bilateral hemispheres with various stimulation modalities. Along with peripheral therapies, tDCS can lead to subsequent sustained behavioral and clinical gains in patients with stroke. In this review, we summarize characteristics of tDCS (method of stimulation, safety profile, and mechanism) and its application in the treatment of various stroke-related deficits, and we highlight future directions for tDCS in this capacity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods*