SAGE Journals

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of lower limb motor function in patients with stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Posted on 2019-03-13 - 12:00

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on the post-stroke recovery of lower limb motor function.

Data sources:

We searched the databases of PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase. The randomized controlled trials were published by 25 January 2019.

Review methods:

We included randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of rTMS on lower limb motor recovery in patients with stroke. Two reviewers independently screened the searched records, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. The treatment effect sizes were pooled in a meta-analysis by using the RevMan 5.3 software. The internal validity was assessed using topics suggested by the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro).


Eight studies with 169 participants were included in the meta-analysis. Pooled estimates demonstrated that rTMS significantly improved the body function of the lower limbs (standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.66; P < 0.01), lower limb activity (SMD = 0.66; P < 0.01), and motor-evoked potential (SMD = 1.13; P < 0.01). The subgroup analyses results also revealed that rTMS improved walking speed (SMD = 1.13) and lower limb scores on the Fugl-Meyer Assessment scale (SMD = 0.63). We found no significant differences between the groups in different mean post-stroke time or stimulation mode over lower limb motor recovery. Only one study reported mild adverse effects.


rTMS may have short-term therapeutic effects on the lower limbs of patients with stroke. Furthermore, the application of rTMS is safe. However, this evidence is limited by a potential risk of bias.


Select your citation style and then place your mouse over the citation text to select it.


need help?