Background: Contralaterally controlled functional electrical stimulation (CCFES) is an innovative method to
improve upper extremity functions after stroke.
Objective: To compare the effects of CCFES versus neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on the upper extremity
functions in patients with stroke.
Methods: Sixty patients with stroke were randomly assigned into CCFES group (n=30) or NMES group (n=30). All
patients were also treated with conventional medical treatment and rehabilitation training. Patients in CCFES group
received CCFES to the affected wrist extensors while the NMES group received NMES. The stimulus current was
biphasic wave with a pulse duration of 200μs and a frequency of 60Hz. The electrical stimulation lasted for 20min per
session, 5 sessions per week for 3 weeks. The intensity of the CCFES was based on the electromyography (EMG) value of
the unaffected side while the subjects voluntarily extended their unaffected wrist slightly (<10% range of motion, ROM),
moderately (about 50% ROM) and completely (100% ROM). Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), motricity index (MI), the
Hong Kong version of functional test for the hemiplegic upper extremity (FTHUE-HK) and active range of motion
(AROM) of wrist extension were measured before and after 3 weeks of treatment.
Results: Compared with the baseline values, both groups showed significant improvements in all the measurements after
treatment (p<0.05). Patients in CCFES group showed significantly higher upper extremity FMA, FTHUE-HK scores and
AROM of wrist extension than those in NMES group (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Compared with the conventional NMES, CCFES provides better recovery of upper extremity function in
patients with stroke.