Effect of biofeedback accompanying occupational therapy and functional electrical stimulation in hemiplegic patients.

Lourencao M, Battistella L, de Brito C, Tsukimoto G, Miyazaki M

Interest in therapeutic uses of electromyographic biofeedback (EMGb) is rapidly expanding, and yet compared to other treatment interventions, evidence for its use is relatively scarce. Therapy combined with functional electrical stimulation (FES) was used as the standard intervention and the study aimed to compare the effects of therapy + FES+ EMGb with just therapy and FES on range of movement (ROM), spasticity and upper limb function in hemiplegic patients.

The therapeutic intervention is described as being occupational therapy (OT) but there are no details of what this actually consisted of. There is often a high degree of overlap between physiotherapy and OT, therefore results may be clinically meaningful to physiotherapy also.

The authors discovered greater improvements in upper limb function at 6 months in the group receiving therapy +FES +EMGb. The methodological quality of this study has not been assessed but it has the potential to contribute positively to the evidence base for using EMGb to treat reduced upper limb function post stroke.

International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 2008, 31(1), 33-41

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