Effects of functional electrical stimulation (FES) on evoked muscular output in paraplegic quadriceps muscle.


In order to assess the effects of FES on muscle output, chronic electrical stimulation of the quadriceps muscle was applied for half an hour twice a day for 2 months, in 10 thoracic level traumatic paraplegic patients. Results concerning torque (at 6 different muscle lengths) and fatigue were measured using a strain gauge transducer in isometric condition, and compared with the findings in 15 paraplegic patients who had not received electrical stimulation, and with 10 able bodied subjects with normal motor functions. With training, muscle strength was very significantly improved whilst fatigue resistance remained at a low level. The peak torque was not found to be of the same muscle length when comparing paraplegics and control subjects; it seemed to demonstrate that length-tension relationship of the muscular actuator was changing when it was electrically activated. Moreover, the force recorded in paraplegics remained markedly lower than in able bodied people.

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