Volume 40 Number 6, November/December 2003
Pages 469 — 475
Effects of regular use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on tissue healthKath M. Bogie, DPhil; Ronald J. Triolo, PhDCleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; Louis B. Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OHAbstract — Changes in tissue health were monitored in a group of spinal cord injury (SCI) individuals with the use of an implanted neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) system to provide standing and to facilitate standing transfers. Tissue health was evaluated through monitoring tissue oxygen levels in the ischial region along with measuring interface pressures at the seating support interface. Baseline assessments were done at study enrollment and repeated on completion of a conditioning exercise program. Serial assessments of tissue health were performed on eight NMES implant recipients. Unloaded tissue oxygen levels in the ischial region tended to increase after following the NMES exercise program for 8 weeks. Concurrently, pressure distributions at the seating support interface tended to change such that although the total pressure acting at the interface did not change, ischial region pressures showed a significant decrease. These changes indicate that chronic use of NMES has a quantifiable benefit on tissue health.Key words: neuromuscular electrical stimulation, spinal cord injury, tissue health.