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J Rehabil Med. 2011 May;43(6):506-10. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0807.

Long-term effectiveness of neuromuscular electrical stimulation for promoting motor recovery of the upper extremity after stroke.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital Fifth Affiliated Hospital Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.



To investigate the long-term efficacy of neuromuscular electrical stimulation in enhancing motor recovery in the upper extremities of stroke patients.


A total of 46 patients with stroke were assigned to a neuromuscular electrical stimulation group or a control group. All patients received a standard rehabilitation programme. Patients in the neuromuscular electrical stimulation group received neuromuscular electrical stimulation for 30 min, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Measurements were recorded before treatment, at the 2nd and 3rd week of treatment and 1, 3 and 6 months after treatment ended. The Modified Ashworth Scale for spasticity, the upper extremity section of the Fugl-Meyer motor assessment, and the Modified Barthel Index were used to assess the results.


Significant improvements were found in both groups in terms of Fugl-Meyer motor assessment, and Modified Ashworth Scale scores after the 3rd week of treatment. The significant improvements persisted 1 month after treatment had been discontinued. At 3 and 6 months after treatment was discontinued the average scores in the neuromuscular electrical stimulation group were significantly better than those in the control group.


Three weeks of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to the affected upper extremity of patients with stroke improves motor recovery. The effect persists for at least 6 months.

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