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A Journal on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after Pathological Events

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER), European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), European Union of Medical Specialists - Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Section (UEMS-PRM), Mediterranean Forum of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (MFPRM), Hellenic Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (EEFIAP)
In association with International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM)
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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012 March;48(1):135-45


language: English

Cycling induced by functional electrical stimulation in children affected by cerebral palsy: case report

Trevisi E. 1, Gualdi S. 1, De Conti C. 1, Salghetti A. 1, Martinuzzi A. 1, Pedrocchi A. 2, Ferrante S. 2

1 “F. Fabbri” Posture and Movement Analysis Laboratory, “E. Medea” Scientific Institute, Conegliano Research Centre, Conegliano, Treviso, Italy; 2 NeuroEngineering and medicAl Robotics Laboratory, Bioengineering Department, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy


BACKGROUND: Recently, the efficacy of functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling have been demonstrated on the improvement of strength and motor control in adults with stroke. FES-cycling, providing a repetitive goal-oriented task, could facilitate cortical reorganization and utilization of residual cortico-spinal pathways. These benefits could be more enhanced in children because of the greater plasticity and flexibility of their central nervous system.
AIM: The aim of the present case report study was to explore the feasibility of FES-cycling in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and to provide a set of instrumental measures able to evaluate the effects of this novel treatment on cycling and walking ability.
DESIGN: Interventional study.
SETTING AND POPULATION: Two ambulant outpatient children with diplegic CP were recruited by the “E. Medea” Scientific Institute.
METHODS: Patients followed a FES-cycling treatment for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week for 7 weeks. Pre and post treatment tests were performed, namely clinical measures and electromyographic, kinematic and oxygen expenditure analysis during gait and cycling.
RESULTS: The treatment was safe, feasible and well accepted by the 2 children. After treatment both patients achieved a more symmetrical muscular strategy during voluntary cycling and gait and a significant reduction of muscle co-contractions during cycling. These improvements were corroborated by a decrease in oxygen expenditure during the post test for one of the two children, the less impaired, implying a better exploiting of bi-articular muscles.
CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: FES-cycling is feasible and safe and it may be an alternative rehabilitation method for diplegic CP patients. The set of instrumental measurements proposed seems to be a valuable tool for functional assessment to identify subclinical anomalies and improvements on cycling and gait in CP patients.

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