Effects of peripheral sensory nerve stimulation plus task-oriented training on upper extremity function in patients with subacute stroke: a pilot randomized crossover trial

Clinical Rehabilitation, 05/07/2012

Peripheral sensory nerve stimulation is feasible in clinical settings and may enhance the effects of task–oriented training in patients with subacute stroke.

Methods

  • Twenty-two patients with subacute stroke.
  • Participants were randomly assigned to two groups and underwent two weeks of training in addition to conventional inpatient rehabilitation.
  • The immediate group underwent peripheral sensory nerve stimulation combined with task-oriented training in the first week, followed by another week with task-oriented training alone.
  • The delayed group underwent the same training in reverse order.
  • Outcome measures were the level of fatigue and Wolf Motor Function Test.
  • Patients were assessed at baseline, one and two weeks.

Results

  • All participants completed the study with no adverse events.
  • There was no significant difference in level of fatigue between each treatment.
  • From baseline to one week, the immediate group showed larger improvements than the delayed groups in the Wolf Motor Function Test (decrease in mean time (± SD) from 41.9 ± 16.2 seconds to 30.6 ± 11.4 seconds versus from 46.8 ± 19.4 seconds to 42.9 ± 14.7 seconds, respectively) but the difference did not reach significance after Bonferroni correction (P = 0.041).
  • Within-group comparison showed significant improvements in the Wolf Motor Function Test mean time after the peripheral sensory nerve stimulation combined with task-oriented training periods in each group (P < 0.01).

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