Functional magnetic stimulation for conditioning of expiratory muscles in patients with spinal cord injury

V W Lin, I N Hsiao, E Zhu, I Perkash
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2001, 82 (2): 162-6

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of functional magnetic stimulation (FMS) in conditioning expiratory muscles patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).

DESIGN: A prospective before-after trial.

SETTING: The Functional Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory of the SCI Health Care Group, VA Long Beach Health Care System, and the Spinal Cord Injury Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System.

PARTICIPANTS: Eight men with tetraplegia.

INTERVENTION: Expiratory muscle training was achieved by placing a magnetic stimulator with a round magnetic coil along subjects' lower thoracic spine.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Measures taken were the maximal expired pressure at total lung capacity (MEP-TLC) and at functional residual capacity (MEP-FRC), expiratory reserve volume (ERV), and the forced expiratory flow rate at TLC (FEF-TLC) and at FRC (FEF-FRC) by subjects' voluntary maximal efforts.

RESULTS: After 4 weeks of conditioning, the mean +/- standard error of the mean values were: MEP-TLC, 55.3 +/- 8.6cmH(2)O; MEP-FRC, 29.6 +/- 5.6cmH(2)O; ERV,.57 +/-.08L; FEF-TLC, 4.3 +/- 0.5L/s; and FEF-FRC, 1.9 +/- 0.2L/s. These values correspond to, respectively, 129%, 137%, 162%, 109%, and 127% of pre-FMS conditioning values. When FMS was discontinued for 2 weeks, the MEP-TLC returned to its pre-FMS training value.

CONCLUSION: A 4-week protocol of FMS of the expiratory muscles improves voluntary expiratory muscle strength significantly, indicating that FMS can be a noninvasive therapeutic technology in respiratory muscle training for persons with tetraplegia.

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