FES cycling in patients with acquired brain injury

What are the effects on mobility and strength?

Functional electrical stimulation cycling involves the application of a small electrical current through the skin to stimulate muscle contractions in synchrony with the pedalling motion of a lower limb ergometer. If used in addition to routine face-to-face physiotherapy, FES cycling may increase strength in the lower limbs, which may have carryover effects on the patient's ability to walk and move around.

Because preliminary studies of FES cycling were favourable, there has been much interest in it from patients, relatives and physiotherapists. However, a systematic literature review of those studies showed that the quality of those trials was low, with most failing to blind assessors - which could lead to inflated estimates of the benefit of the treatment.


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