Author(s): Eser P, de Bruin ED, Telley I, Lechner HE, Knecht H,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Bone atrophy in spinal cord-injured people (SCI) is, among other factors, caused by immobilization and is initiated shortly after the injury. The present study measured the effect of an functional electrical stimulation (FES)-cycling intervention on bone mineral density (BMD) of the tibia in recently injured SCI people. METHODS: As soon as possible after the injury (mean 4.5 weeks), para- and tetraplegic patients were recruited into an intervention and control group comparable with regard to gender, age, and lesion level. The intervention consisted of 30-min functional electrical stimulation-cycling three times a week for the duration of their primary rehabilitation (mean = 6 months). Computed tomography (CT) scans of the right tibia diaphysis were taken at the beginning and at the end of the intervention. Bone mineral density of cortical bone was calculated from the CT scans. RESULTS: A total of 38 subjects (19 in each group) were included in the study. Both groups showed a reduction in tibial cortical BMD of 0-10\% of initial values within 3-10 months. The mean decrease in BMD was 0.3\% (+/- 0.6) per month in the intervention group and 0.7\% (+/- 0.8) in the control group. This difference did not reach statistical significance. Decrease of BMD was linearly correlated to initial BMD and age in the pooled data of both groups; subjects who had a high initial BMD and/or were older lost more bone. In neither group was bone loss associated with duration of immobilization nor lesion level. CONCLUSIONS: Functional electrical stimulation-cycling applied shortly after SCI did not significantly attenuate bone loss.
This article was published in Eur J Clin Invest
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation