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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2018;36(1):21-30. doi: 10.3233/RNN-170733.

Effects of combining high- and low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on upper limb hemiparesis in the early phase of stroke.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Tangdu Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, China.
Department of Rehabilitation, Xijing Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, China.



Both high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) and low-frequency rTMS (LF-rTMS) are reported to benefit upper limb motor function rehabilitation in patients with stroke. However, the efficacy of combining LF- and HF-rTMS (LF-HF rTMS) has not been adequately explored, especially in the early phase of stroke.


To compare the effects of LF- and LF-HF rTMS on the upper limb motor function in the early phase post stroke.


Sixty-two patients were randomly assigned to three groups: LF-rTMS group (1 Hz rTMS to the contralesional hemisphere), LF-HF rTMS group (1 Hz rTMS to the contralesional hemisphere followed by 10 Hz rTMS to the lesional hemisphere) and sham group. The patients received the same conventional rehabilitation accompanied with sessions of rTMS for 15 consecutive days. The upper limb motor function was evaluated using the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) and the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) before the first session, after the last session, and at 3 months after the last session.


All patients finished the study without any adverse reaction. Three groups exhibited improvement in terms of the FMA score and the log WMFT time at the end of the treatment and 3 months later. Better improvement was found in the LF-HF rTMS group than in the LF-rTMS and sham groups.


The results indicated that both LF- and LF-HF rTMS were effective in promoting upper limb motor recovery in patients with acute stroke. Combining HF- and LF-rTMS protocol in the present study is tolerable and more beneficial for motor improvement than the unilateral use of LF-rTMS alone.


Stroke; early phase; motor function; rehabilitation; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; upper limb

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