Functional electrical stimulation of the peroneal nerve improves post-stroke gait speed when combined with physiotherapy. A systematic review and meta-analysis

Category Systematic review
JournalAnn. Phys. Rehabil. Med.
Year 2020
BACKGROUND: Functional electrical stimulation (FES) applied to the paretic peroneal nerve has positive clinical effects on foot drop secondary to stroke. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of FES applied to the paretic peroneal nerve on gait speed, active ankle dorsiflexion mobility, balance, and functional mobility. METHODS: Electronic databases were searched for articles published from inception to January 2020. We included randomized controlled trials or crossover trials focused on determining the effects of FES combined or not with other therapies in individuals with foot drop after stroke. Characteristics of studies, participants, comparison groups, interventions, and outcomes were extracted. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed with the I2 statistic. RESULTS: We included 14 studies providing data for 1115 participants. FES did not enhance gait speed as compared with conventional treatments (i.e., supervised/unsupervised exercises and regular activities at home). FES combined with supervised exercises (i.e., physiotherapy) was better than supervised exercises alone for improving gait speed. We found no effect of FES combined with unsupervised exercises and inconclusive effects when FES was combined with regular activities at home. When FES was compared with conventional treatments, it improved ankle dorsiflexion, balance and functional mobility, albeit with high heterogeneity for these last 2 outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis revealed low quality of evidence for positive effects of FES on gait speed when combined with physiotherapy. FES can improve ankle dorsiflexion, balance, and functional mobility. However, considering the low quality of evidence and the high heterogeneity, these results must be interpreted carefully.
Epistemonikos ID: 5cd6397cf53c9b55b333bcfe029dda824586c217
First added on: May 29, 2020