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Circulatory hypokinesis and functional electric stimulation during standing in persons with spinal cord injury.

date: 11/01/2001
author: Faghri PD, Yount JP, Pesce WJ, Seetharama S, Votto JJ.
publication: Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Nov;82(11):1587-95
pubmed_ID: 11689980
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of functional electric stimulation (FES) of lower limb muscles during 30 minutes of upright standing on the central and peripheral hemodynamic response in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). DESIGN: A repeated-measure design. Subjects were used as their own control and underwent 2 testing protocols of FES-augmented standing (active standing) and non-FES standing (passive standing). SETTING: Rehabilitation hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Fourteen individuals with SCI (7 with tetraplegia, 7 with paraplegia). INTERVENTIONS: During active standing, FES was administered to 4 muscle groups of each leg in an overlapping fashion to produce a pumping mechanism during standing. During passive standing, subjects stood for 30 minutes using a standing frame with no FES intervention. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Central hemodynamic responses of stroke volume, cardiac output, heart rate, arterial blood pressure, total peripheral resistance (TPR), and rate pressure product (RPP) were evaluated by impedance cardiography. All measurements were performed during supine and sitting positions before and after standing, and during 30 minutes of upright standing. RESULTS: Comparisons between the groups with paraplegia and tetraplegia showed a significant increase in heart rate in the paraplegics after 30 minutes of active standing. During active standing, paraplegics’ heart rate increased by 18.2% (p = .015); during passive standing, it increased by 6% (p = .041). TPR in the tetraplegics significantly (p = .003) increased by 54% when compared with the paraplegics during passive standing. Overall, the tetraplegic group had a significantly lower systolic blood pressure (p = .013) and mean arterial pressure (p = .048) than the paraplegics during passive standing. These differences were not detected during active standing. When data were pooled from both groups and the overall groups response to active and passive standing were compared, the results showed that cardiac output, stroke volume, and blood pressure significantly decreased (p < .05) during 30 minutes of passive standing, whereas TPR significantly increased (p < .05). All of the hemodynamic variables were maintained during 30 minutes of active standing, and there were increases in RPP and heart rate after 30 minutes of active standing. CONCLUSION: FES of the lower extremity could be used by persons with SCI as an adjunct during standing to prevent orthostatic hypotension and circulatory hypokinesis. This effect may be more beneficial to those with tetraplegia who have a compromised autonomic nervous system and may not be able to adjust their hemodynamics to the change in position. Copyright 2001 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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