SAGE Journals

Upper Extremity Contralaterally Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation Versus Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in Post-Stroke Individuals: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Posted on 2022-05-17 - 12:09

Electrical stimulation has been employed as a safe and effective therapy for improving arm function after stroke. Contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation (CCFES) is a unique method that has progressed from application in small feasibility studies to implementation in several randomized controlled trials. However, no meta-analysis has been conducted to summarize its efficacy.


To summarize the effect size of CCFES through measures of upper extremity motor recovery compared with that of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES).


The PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were selected and subjected to meta-analysis and risk of bias assessment.


6 RCTs were selected and 267 participants were included. The Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer assessment (UEFMA) was included in all studies, the Box and Blocks test (BBT) and active range of motion (AROM) were included in 3 and 4 studies, respectively. The modified Barthel Index (mBI) and Arm Motor Abilities Test (AMAT) were included in 2 and 3 studies, respectively. The CCFES group demonstrated greater improvement than the NMES did in UEFMA (SMD = .42, 95% CI = .07–.76), BBT (SMD = .48, 95% CI = .10–.86), AROM (SMD = .54, 95% CI = .23–.86), and mBI (SMD = .54, 95% CI = .12–.97). However, the results for AMAT did not differ significantly (SMD = .34, 95% CI = −.03–.72).


Contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation produced greater improvements in upper extremity hemiplegia in people with stroke than NMES did. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021245831


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