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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 20;7(1):6055. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06349-y.

The Effect of Electrical Stimulation of the Calf Muscle on Leg Fluid Accumulation over a Long Period of Sitting.

Author information

1
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
2
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
3
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. Azadeh.Yadollahi@uhn.ca.
4
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Azadeh.Yadollahi@uhn.ca.

Abstract

Leg fluid accumulation during sedentary behaviours such as sitting can lead to leg edema and associated adverse health consequences. This study investigates the use calf muscle electrical stimulation (ES) to reduce seated leg fluid accumulation. Thirteen non-obese, normotensive men (mean age 51 yr.) with sleep apnea were enrolled in the study. Participants first lay supine for 30 minutes to equalize fluid distribution and then sat for 150 minutes. While seated, participants received either active or sham ES of the calf muscles, according to random assignment. Participants returned one-week later to cross over to the other study condition. Leg fluid was measured continuously while sitting using the bioelectrical impedance method. Fluid accumulation in the leg was reduced by more than 40% using active ES, compared to sham ES (∆ = 51.9 ± 8.8 ml vs. ∆ = 91.5 ± 8.9 ml, P < 0.001). In summary, calf muscle ES is an effective method for reducing accumulation of fluid during long sedentary periods and has potential use as a device for preventing leg edema to treat associated health consequences in at-risk groups and settings.

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