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Diabetes Care. 1997 Mar;20(3):405-12.

Effects of electrical stimulation on wound healing in patients with diabetic ulcers.

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Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033, USA.



To evaluate the effects of two stimulation waveforms on healing rates in patients with diabetes and open ulcers. The hypothesis was that stimulus waveforms with minimal polar characteristics would provide significant healing for this patient sample.


This was a prospective study that enrolled 80 patients with open ulcers. Patients received stimulation with either an asymmetric biphasic (A) or symmetric biphasic (B) square-wave pulse. Amplitudes were set to activate intact peripheral nerves in the skin. Two other groups received either very low levels of stimulation current (MC), or no electrical stimulation (C). When combined these groups were referred to as the control group. Treatment was carried out daily until the wound healed, the patient withdrew from the study, or the physician changed the overall wound management program. Average healing rates were calculated from weekly measures of the wound perimeter and were used for statistical comparison through a one-way analysis of variance.


Stimulation with the A protocol significantly increased the healing rate, enhancing healing by nearly 60% over the control rate of healing. Stimulation with the B protocol did not increase the healing rate when compared with control subjects.


Electrical stimulation, given daily with a short pulsed, asymmetric biphasic waveform, was effective for enhancement of healing rates for patients with diabetes and open ulcers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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