To evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility (i.e. tolerability, adherence) of functional electrical stimulation (FES) for the upper extremity (UE) in a two-year-old child with perinatal stroke.
Forty hours of FES over eight weeks was prescribed. FES to the hemiplegic triceps, extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris and extensor digitorum was timed with reaching during play. Assessments were performed before, during, and two months post-intervention. UE function (Melbourne Assessment 2 (MA2), Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA)) and spasticity (Modified Tardieu with electrogoniometry and electromyography) were measured. The mother completed a semi-structured interview post-intervention. Descriptive statistics were used for adherence and UE measures. A repeated-measures ANOVA compared Modified Tardieu parameters (e.g. catch angle) over time. Conventional content analysis was used for the interview data.
The child completed 39.2/40 hours. Immediately post-intervention, improvements were observed on MA2's Range of Motion subscale and catch angle (Modified Tardieu, p < 0.001). Two months post-intervention, improvements were observed on MA2's Accuracy and Fluency subscales. No change in AHA score occurred. Three themes emerged from the interview: (1) Ingredients for program success; (2) Information about the FES device; and (3) The child's response.
UE FES was feasible in a two-year-old child with hemiplegia.
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