Table 3

Details of studies in neuromuscular electrical stimulation to assist with muscle strength and function (upper limb) section

ReferenceStudy designAge range (years)nMuscles stimulatedResultsSession duration and frequency
Kamper et al13ABC5–158Wrist flexors and extensors↑ROM, ns spasticity, ns passive resistance, ↑wrist extensor strength, ns coactivation15–30 min daily for 3 months
Vaz et al14Pretest/post-test design7–119Wrist flexors and extensors↑Wrist extensor and flexor strength, ns passive resistance wrist flexors, ns functionThree sessions per week (unspecified duration) for 8 weeks of resisted exercises in extended wrist range with NMES as adjunct stimulus
Atwater et al28Case series*11 and 12.52Wrist extensorsns function, ns ROM, ns overall motor developmentAs part of a 20 min intervention three times a week for 8 weeks
Carmick34Case series1.6 and 6.72Anterior deltoid, shoulder flexors, triceps brachii, wrist extensors, finger flexors, thumb extensors, thumb abductors (not all used in both patients)Improvements in function, awareness and spontaneous use of impaired upper limb describedWeekly to twice weekly, unspecified duration sessions of ‘targeted’ FES for between 6 weeks and 6 months
Wright and Granat35ABA5–158Wrist extensors↑Function, ↑ROM, ns wrist extension moment30 min daily for 6 weeks
  • ↑Indicates statistically significant (p<0.05) increase; ns indicates no statistically significant difference (p>0.05).

  • * The two children who received upper limb NMES were a subgroup of 10 children in Atwater's study. Although this study was not a case study, the subgroup results for these children have been considered as such for the purposes of this review section.

  • ABA, baseline-intervention-follow-up; ABC, baseline-intervention1-intervention2; FES, functional electrical stimulation; NMES, neuromuscular electrical stimulation; ROM, ranges of motion.