Functional electrostimulation in poststroke rehabilitation: a meta-analysis of the randomized controlled trials

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996 Jun;77(6):549-53. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(96)90293-2.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of functional electrical stimulation (FES) in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis in stroke.

Design: A meta-analysis combined the reported randomized controlled trials of FES in stroke, using the effect size method of Glass, and the DerSimonian-Laird Random Effects Method for pooling studies.

Setting: The included studies were published between 1978 and 1992. They were conducted in academic rehabilitation medicine settings.

Patients: In all included studies, patients were in poststroke rehabilitation. The mean time after stroke varied from 1.5 to 29.2 months.

Intervention: FES applied to a muscle or associated nerve in a hemiparetic extremity was compared to No FES.

Main outcome measure: Change in paretic muscle force of contraction following FES was compared to change without FES.

Results: For the four included studies, the mean effect size was .63 (95% CI: .29, .98). This result was statistically significant (p < .05).

Conclusion: Pooling from randomized trials supports FES as promoting recovery of muscle strength after stroke. This effect is statistically significant. There is a reasonable likelihood of clinical significance as well.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Hemiplegia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic