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Effects of functional electrical therapy on upper extremity functional motor recovery in patients after stroke: Our experience and future directions

Author(s): Plavšić Aleksandra | Švirtlih Laslo | Stefanović Aleksandra | Jović Stevan | Đurović Aleksandar | Popović Mirjana

Journal: Medicinski Pregled
ISSN 0025-8105

Volume: 64;
Issue: 5-6;
Start page: 299;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Electric Stimulation Therapy | Exercise Therapy | Recovery of Function | Motor Activity | Stroke | Hand | Hand Strength | Rehabilitation | Neurophysiology

Introduction. New neurorehabilitation together with conventional techniques provide methods and technologies for maximizing what is preserved from the sensory motor system after cerebrovascular insult. The rehabilitation technique named functional electrical therapy was investigated in more than 60 patients in acute, subacute and chronic phase after cerebrovascular insult. The functional sensory information generated by functional electrical therapy was hypothesized to result in the intensive functional brain training of the activities performed. Functional Electrical Therapy. Functional electrical therapy is a combination of functional exercise and electrical therapy. The functional electrical therapy protocol comprises voluntary movement of the paretic arm in synchrony with the electrically assisted hand functions in order to perform typical daily activities. The daily treatment of 30 minutes lasts three weeks. The outcome measures include several tests for the evaluation of arm/hand functionality: upper extremity function test, drawing test, modified Aschworth scale, motor activity log and passive range of movement. Results of Functional Electrical Therapy Studies. Results from our several clinical studies showed that functional electrical therapy, if applied in acute and subacute stroke patients, leads to faster and greater improvement of functioning of the hemiplegic arm/hand compared to the control group. The outcomes were significantly superior at all times after the treatment for the higher functioning group. Discussion. Additional well-planned clinical studies are needed to determine the adequate dose of treatment (timing, duration, intensity) with functional electrical therapy regarding the patient’s status. A combination with other techniques should be further investigated.
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