Study design: Prospective single-arm study.
Objectives: To investigate the effect of functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling on late functional recovery, spasticity, gait parameters and oxygen consumption during walking in patients with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI).
Setting: Turkish Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center, Ankara, Turkey.
Methods: Ten patients with chronic (duration of more than 2 years) incomplete SCI who could ambulate at least 10 m independently or with the assistance of a cane or walker, but no hip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis. The subjects underwent 1-h FES cycling sessions three times a week for 16 weeks. Outcome measures including the total motor score, the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) score, the Modified Ashworth Scale for knee spasticity, temporal spatial gait parameters and oxygen consumption rate during walking were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months after the baseline.
Results: There were statistically significant improvements in total motor scores, the FIM scores and spasticity level at the 6-month follow-up (P<0.01). The changes in gait parameters reached no significant level (P>0.05). Oxygen consumption rate of the patients showed significant reduction at only 6 months compared with baseline (P<0.01).
Conclusion: The results suggest that FES cycling may provide some functional improvements in the late period of SCI.
Sponsorship: The study was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).