Effects of functional electrical stimulation training for six months on body composition and spasticity in motor complete tetraplegic spinal cord-injured individuals
Camilla Sköld , Lars Lönn , Karin Harms-Ringdahl , Claes Hultling , Richard Levi , Mark Nash , Åke Seiger
The effect of functional electrical stimulation (FES) training on body composition, assessed by computed tomography, and the effect of spasticity, assessed by both objective and subjective measures, are evaluated. Fifteen motor-complete spinal-cord-injured men participated in the study. Eight of the 15 subjects undertook FES cycling 3 times weekly for 6 months. Whole body computed tomography scans evaluated changes in body composition. Simultaneous Modified Ashworth Scale and electromyography (EMG) measurements, resistive torque (Kin-Com) and EMG measurements, and self-ratings with Visual Analogue Scale during four consecutive days were used to evaluate changes in spasticity. Lower extremity muscle volume increased by an average of 1300 cm3 (p < 0.001) in the training group compared to the control group, who experienced no change. Otherwise no changes in body composition were seen. Significant correlations (Spearman) were found between individual EMG activity recordings and movement-provoked Modified Ashworth Scale ratings in 26% of the test situations, irrespective of group and time. The objective and subjective evaluation of movement-provoked passive (viscoelastic) and active (spasticity-related) resistance remained unchanged.