Purpose. To assess the effects of daily power-assisted functional electrical stimulation (FES) home program therapy in chronic stroke. Methods. A total of 20 consecutively enrolled stroke patients with spastic upper-extremity impairments >1 year after stroke were recruited for this non-blinded randomized controlled trial. Subjects were assigned to control and FES groups and followed for 5 months. The FES group used a power-assisted FES device to induce greater muscle contraction by electrical stimulation in proportion to the integrated electromyography (EMG) signal picked up on surface electrodes. Target muscles were the extensor carpi radialis longus (ECRL) and extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB), extensor digitorum communis (EDC), extensor indicis proprius (EIP), and deltoid (Del). Patients underwent 30∼ min FES sessions at home about 6 days/week. Root mean square (RMS) of ECRL, EDC and Del maximum voluntary EMGs, active range of motion (ROM) of wrist and finger extension and shoulder flexion, modified Ashworth scale (MAS), and clinical tests were investigated before and after FES training. Results. The FES group displayed significantly greater improvements in RMS, active ROM, MAS and functional hand tests, and was able to smoothly perform activities of daily life using the hemiplegic upper extremities. Conclusions. Daily power-assisted FES home program therapy can effectively improve wrist and finger extension and shoulder flexion. Proprioceptional sensory feedback might play an important role in power-assisted FES therapy.
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