Author(s): Hesse S, Reiter F, Konrad M, Jahnke MT
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the combined approach of botulinum toxin type A (BtxA) and electrical stimulation was more effective than the toxin alone in the treatment of chronic upper limb spasticity after stroke. DESIGN: Randomized, placebo-controlled study with four treatment groups: 1000 units BtxA (Dysport) + electrical stimulation (A), 1000 units BtxA (B), placebo + electrical stimulation (C) and placebo (D). SETTING: A neurological rehabilitation clinic. SUBJECTS: Twenty-four stroke patients with chronic upper limb spasticity after stroke, six patients in each treatment group. INTERVENTIONS: Intramuscular injection of either toxin or placebo into six upper imb flexor muscles. In group A and C additional electrical stimulation of the injected muscles with surface electrodes, three times half an hour each day for three days. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Muscle tone rated with the modified Ashworth score, limb position at rest and difficulties encountered during three upper limb motor tasks assessed before and 2, 6 and 12 weeks after injection. RESULTS: Most improvements were observed in patients of group A. Cleaning the palm (p = 0.004) differed across groups. Pairwise comparison for this target variable showed that group A differed from group B and D (p <0.01), but not from C. Indicative across-group differences were obtained for elbow spasticity reduction (p = 0.011), and improvement of putting the arm through a sleeve (p = 0.020). CONCLUSIONS: The placebo-controlled trial favours the concept that electrical stimulation enhances the effectiveness of BtxA in the treatment of chronic upper limb flexor spasticity after stroke.
This article was published in Clin Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy