Functional electric stimulation to augment partial weight-bearing supported treadmill training for patients with acute incomplete spinal cord injury: A pilot study

  • Postans N
  • Hasler J
  • Granat M
 et al. 
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OBJECTIVE: To study the application of partial weight-bearing (PWB) supported treadmill gait training augmented by functional electric stimulation (FES) in subjects with acute incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). DESIGN: Before-after crossover trial with control (A) and intervention (B) periods. SETTING: Physiotherapy (PT) department of a spinal injuries unit in Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: Fourteen inpatients with acute incomplete SCI with American Spinal Injury Association class C or D injury. INTERVENTION: Training consisted of treadmill walking with PWB support augmented by FES. Subjects walked on the treadmill for up to 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. The intervention was compared with a 4-week control period in which standard PT was given. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Overground walking endurance and speed, cadence, stride length, and observational gait analysis and walking speed, distance, and percentage PWB support on the treadmill. RESULTS: A greater increase in overground walking endurance was achieved after the intervention (AB group mean, 72.2m; confidence interval [CI], 39.8-104.6m; BA group mean, 63.8m; CI, -10.2 to 137.9m), as compared with after standard PT (AB group mean, 38.4m; CI, 1.8-75.0m; BA group mean, 60.1m; CI, 9.2-110.9m). A similar pattern was observed for overground walking speed. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study indicated that PWB supported treadmill training with FES had a positive effect on overground gait parameters and could potentially accelerate gait training in subjects with incomplete SCI. A larger randomized trial is required to substantiate these findings

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • *Gait
  • *Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rh [Rehabilitation]
  • Weight-Bearing

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  • N J Postans

  • J P Hasler

  • M H Granat

  • D J Maxwell

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