We investigated whether untriggered neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) can increase the effectiveness of shoulder and elbow robotic training in patients with hemiparesis. Thirty subacute stroke patients were randomly equally allocated to robot only (RO) and robot and electrical stimulation (RE) groups. During training, shoulder and elbow movements were trained by operating the robotic arm with the paretic arm, and the robotic device helped to move the arm. In the RE group, the anterior deltoid and triceps brachii muscles were electrically stimulated at sub-motor threshold intensity. Training was performed (approximately 1 h/day, 5 days/week for 2 weeks) in addition to regular rehabilitation. Active range of motion (ROM) values of shoulder flexion and abduction, and Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA) scores were measured before and after training. Active shoulder ROM was significantly better after than before training in the RE group; however, no such improvement was noted in the RO group. FMA scores were significantly better in both groups, and there was no significant difference between the groups. Untriggered NMES might increase the effectiveness of shoulder and elbow robotic training in patients with hemiparesis. Additionally, NMES at a sub-motor threshold during robotic training might facilitate activation of paretic muscles, resulting in paralysis improvement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering