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Clin Physiol. 1991 Mar;11(2):161-8.

Low-frequency transcutaneous nerve stimulation in mild/moderate hypertension.

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  • 1Rogaland Central Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.


Low-frequency peripheral nerve stimulation may induce widespread cutaneous and muscular vasodilatation in animals and humans due to sympatho-inhibition. This response has in humans been shown to be associated with a lowering of the systemic vascular resistance and arterial pressure. In the present study the effectiveness of low-frequency (2 Hz) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TNS) has been examined in 46 patients, all 41-43 years of age, with a primary diagnosis of uncomplicated mild/moderate hypertension (90-115 mmHg diastolic pressure). The study was designed blind with matched controls in a TNS group and a placebo group. The blood pressure was measured objectively with an automatic monitor. In a short-term experiment TNS produced a significant lowering of systolic, mean arterial, and diastolic pressures amounting to 8 mmHg (P less than 0.01), 6 mmHg (P less than 0.01), and 4 mmHg (P less than 0.02), respectively. In a long-term study, after 2 weeks of daily stimulation, a similar depression was recorded with no stimulation on the day of examination. An eventual clinical use of the depressor effect of TNS demands further clinical research.

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