Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of contralaterally controlled neuromuscular electrical stimulation (CCNMES) vs. cyclic neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on lower extremity impairment, functional ambulation, and gait characteristics.
Design: Twenty-six survivors of stroke with chronic (≥6 mos) foot drop during ambulation were randomly assigned to 6 wks of CCNMES or cyclic NMES. Both groups had ten sessions per week of self-administered home application of either CCNMES or cyclic NMES plus two sessions per week of gait training with a physical therapist. Primary outcomes included lower extremity Fugl-Meyer score, modified Emory Functional Ambulation Profile, and gait velocity. Assessments were made at pretreatment and posttreatment and at 1 and 3 mos after treatment.
Results: There were no significant differences between the groups in the outcome trajectories for any of the measures. With data from both groups pooled, there were significant but modest and sustained improvements in the Fugl-Meyer score and the modified Emory Functional Ambulation Profile but not in gait velocity.
Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that gait training combined with either CCNMES or cyclic NMES reduces lower extremity impairment and functional ambulation but do not support the hypothesis that CCNMES is more effective than cyclic NMES in patients with chronic post-stroke hemiplegia.