Nerve stimulation enhances task-oriented training in chronic, severe motor deficit after stroke: A randomized trial

Cheryl Carrico, Kenneth C. Chelette, Philip M. Westgate, Elizabeth Powell, Laurie Nichols, Anne Fleischer, Lumy Sawaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - A sensory-based intervention called peripheral nerve stimulation can enhance outcomes of motor training for stroke survivors with mild-to-moderate hemiparesis. Further research is needed to establish whether this paired intervention can have benefit in cases of severe impairment (almost no active movement). Methods - Subjects with chronic, severe poststroke hemiparesis (n=36) were randomized to receive 10 daily sessions of either active or sham stimulation (2 hours) immediately preceding intensive task-oriented training (4 hours). Upper extremity movement function was assessed using Fugl-Meyer Assessment (primary outcome measure), Wolf Motor Function Test, and Action Research Arm Test at baseline, immediately post intervention and at 1-month follow-up. Results - Statistically significant difference between groups favored the active stimulation group on Fugl-Meyer at postintervention (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-6.9; P=0.008) and 1-month follow-up (95% CI, 0.6-8.3; P=0.025), Wolf Motor Function Test at postintervention (95% CI, -0.21 to -0.02; P=0.020), and Action Research Arm Test at postintervention (95% CI, 0.8-7.3; P=0.015) and 1-month follow-up (95% CI, 0.6-8.4; P=0.025). Only the active stimulation condition was associated with (1) statistically significant within-group benefit on all outcomes at 1-month follow-up and (2) improvement exceeding minimal detectable change, as well as minimal clinically significant difference, on ≥1 outcomes at ≥1 time points after intervention. Conclusions - After stroke, active peripheral nerve stimulation paired with intensive task-oriented training can effect significant improvement in severely impaired upper extremity movement function. Further confirmatory studies that consider a larger group, as well as longer follow-up, are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1879-1884
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.


  • occupational therapy
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke
  • upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Nerve stimulation enhances task-oriented training in chronic, severe motor deficit after stroke: A randomized trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this