Home-based functional electrical stimulation rescues permanently denervated muscles in paraplegic patients with complete lower motor neuron lesion

Helmut Kern, Ugo Carraro, Nicoletta Adami, Donatella Biral, Christian Hofer, Claudia Forstner, Michaela Mödlin, Michael Vogelauer, Amber Pond, Simona Boncompagni, Cecilia Paolini, Winfried Mayr, Feliciano Protasi, Sandra Zampieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background. Spinal cord injury causes muscle wasting and loss of function, which are especially severe after complete and permanent damage to lower motor neurons. In a previous cross-sectional study, long-standing denervated muscles were rescued by home-based functional electrical stimulation (h-bFES) training. Objective. To confirm results by a 2-year longitudinal prospective study of 25 patients with complete conus/cauda equina lesions. Methods. Denervated leg muscles were stimulated by h-bFES using a custom-designed stimulator and large surface electrodes. Muscle mass, force, and structure were determined before and after 2 years of h-bFES using computed tomography, measurements of knee torque during stimulation, and muscle biopsies analyzed by histology and electron microscopy. Results. Twenty of 25 patients completed the 2-year h-bFES program, which resulted in (a) a 35% cross-sectional increase in area of the quadriceps muscle from 28.2 ± 8.1 to 38.1 ± 12.7 cm2 (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-721
Number of pages13
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Volume24
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • computed tomography
  • conus and cauda equina spinal cord injury
  • functional electrical stimulation
  • human muscle biopsy
  • long-term denervation
  • lower motor neuron lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology

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    Kern, H., Carraro, U., Adami, N., Biral, D., Hofer, C., Forstner, C., Mödlin, M., Vogelauer, M., Pond, A., Boncompagni, S., Paolini, C., Mayr, W., Protasi, F., & Zampieri, S. (2010). Home-based functional electrical stimulation rescues permanently denervated muscles in paraplegic patients with complete lower motor neuron lesion. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 24(8), 709-721. https://doi.org/10.1177/1545968310366129