Neuromuscular electrical stimulation in early rehabilitation of patients with postoperative complications after cardiovascular surgery: A randomized controlled trial

Alexey Nikolaevich Sumin, Pavel Alexandrovich Oleinik, Andrey Viktorovich Bezdenezhnykh, Anna Valeryvena Ivanova
Medicine (Baltimore) 2020 October 16, 99 (42): e22769

BACKGROUND: To evaluate the effectiveness of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in early rehabilitation of patients with postoperative complications after cardiovascular surgery.

METHODS: 37 patients (25 men and 12 women) aged 45 to 70 years with postoperative complications after cardiovascular surgery were included in the study. Eighteen patients underwent NMES daily since postoperative day 3 until discharge in addition to standard rehabilitation program (NMES group), and 19 patients underwent standard rehabilitation program only (non-NMES group). The primary outcome was the knee extensors strength at discharge in NMES group and in control. Secondary outcomes were the handgrip strength, knee flexor strength, and cross-sectional area (CSA) of the quadriceps femoris in groups at discharge.

RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were not different between the groups. Knee extensors strength at discharge was significantly higher in the NMES group (28.1 [23.8; 36.2] kg on the right and 27.45 [22.3; 33.1] kg on the left) than in the non-NMES group (22.3 [20.1; 27.1] and 22.5 [20.1; 25.9] kg, respectively; P < .001). Handgrip strength, knee flexor strength, quadriceps CSA, and 6 minute walk distance at discharge in the groups had no significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study shows a beneficial effect of NMES on muscle strength in patients with complications after cardiovascular surgery. The use of NMES showed no effect on strength of non-stimulated muscle, quadriceps CSA, and distance of 6-minute walk test at discharge.Further blind randomized controlled trials should be performed with emphasis on the effectiveness of NEMS in increasing muscle strength and structure in these patients.

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