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Electrostimulation at sensory level improves function of the upper extremities in children with cerebral palsy: a pilot study

  • Helena Mäenpää (a1), Riitta Jaakkola (a1), Marita Sandström (a2), Taimo Airi (a1) and Lennart von Wendt (a1)...

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of electrical stimulation (ES) on the function of the upper extremities in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The participants were 12 children (seven females and five males) with spastic hemiplegia (mean age 5 years 7 months, SD 3 years 9 months). Indications were weak wrist dorsiflexion and elbow extension. The ES was given at sensory level (20–40 minutes) on the infraspinatus muscle and on the wrist dorsiflexors during 12 regularly scheduled physical and occupational therapy sessions (during 4–5 weeks). The Goal Attainment Scale, the Zancolli classification of hand function, muscle testing according to Daniels and Worthington, and King hypertonicity scale were used for evaluation. Assessments were made twice before (between 4 weeks) and twice after (between 12 weeks) the stimulation period except the King hypertonicity scale, which was used once before and 3 months after the stimulation period. Active elbow extension, wrist dorsiflexion, and forearm supination with the elbow flexed and extended improved when the results of assessments before ES were compared with those made immediately before (p<0.001) and three months after (p<0.01) this treatment. Results of this pilot uncontrolled study suggest that ES at sensory level can be used as an adjunct to physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy in children with spastic hemiplegia. These results will be used as basis for further research.

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Corresponding author

Department of Child Neurology, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki Central Hospital, Lastenlinnantie 2, SF-00250 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: helena.maenpaa@hus.fi

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Electrostimulation at sensory level improves function of the upper extremities in children with cerebral palsy: a pilot study

  • Helena Mäenpää (a1), Riitta Jaakkola (a1), Marita Sandström (a2), Taimo Airi (a1) and Lennart von Wendt (a1)...

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