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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2019 August;55(4):442-9

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.19.05334-6

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Effect of afferent electrical stimulation with mirror therapy on motor function, balance, and gait in chronic stroke survivors: a randomized controlled trial

Donggeon LEE 1, Gyuchang LEE 2

1 Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate School of Kyungnam University, Changwon, South Korea; 2 Department of Physical Therapy, Kyungnam University, Changwon, South Korea



BACKGROUND: When solely mirror therapy is applied for a long period of time, spatial perception and attention to the damaged side may decrease, and the effect of mirror therapy may be limited. To overcome this limitation, it has recently been suggested that the combination of mirror therapy with mirror treatment is effective.
AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of afferent electrical stimulation with mirror therapy on motor function, balance, and gait in chronic stroke survivors.
DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Rehabilitation center.
POPULATION: Thirty stroke survivors were randomly assigned to two groups: the experimental group (N.=15) and the control group (N.=15).
METHODS: Participants of the experimental group received afferent electrical stimulation with mirror therapy, and participants of the control group received sham afferent electrical stimulation with sham mirror therapy for 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Motor function was measured using a handheld dynamometer and the Modified Ashworth Scale, balance was measured using the Berg Balance Scale, and gait was assessed using the GAITRite® (GAITRite, CIR System Inc., Franklin, NJ, USA) pressure-sensitive walkway at baseline and after 4 weeks.
RESULTS: The experimental group showed significant differences in muscle strength, Modified Ashworth Scale, and Berg Balance Scale results, and velocity, cadence, step length, stride length, and double support time of their gait (P<0.05) in the pre-post intervention comparison. Significant differences between the two groups in muscle strength, Berg Balance Scale, gait velocity, step length, and stride length (P<0.05) were found.
CONLCUSIONS: Mirror therapy with afferent electrical stimulation may effectively improve muscle strength and gait and balance abilities in hemiplegic stroke survivors.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Afferent electrical stimulation combined with mirror therapy can be used as an effective intervention to improve lower limb motor function, balance, and gait in chronic stroke survivors in clinical settings.


KEY WORDS: Stroke; Electrical stimulation therapy; Motor skills; Postural balance; Gait

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