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Effect of adding neuromuscular electrical stimulation training to pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: randomized clinical trial [with consumer summary]
Mekki M, Paillard T, Sahli S, Tabka Z, Trabelsi Y
Clinical Rehabilitation 2019 Feb;33(2):195-206
clinical trial
5/10 [Eligibility criteria: No; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness of neuromuscular electrical stimulation added to pulmonary rehabilitation on walking tolerance and balance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). DESIGN: Randomized clinical trial. SETTING: Outpatient, Faculty of Medicine of Sousse, Tunisia. SUBJECTS: A total of 45 patients with COPD were assigned to an intervention group (n = 25) or a control group (n = 20). INTERVENTIONS: The intervention group underwent a neuromuscular electrical stimulation added to pulmonary rehabilitation, and the control group underwent only a pulmonary rehabilitation, three times per week during six months. MAIN MEASURES: Measures were taken at baseline and after six months of training. A stabilometric platform, time up and go, Berg balance scale tests, 6 minute walking test, and the maximal voluntary contraction were measured. RESULTS: In the intervention group, an increase in an exercise tolerance manifested by a longer distance walked in 6 minute walking test 619.5 (39.6) m was observed in comparison to the control group 576.3 (31.5) m. The values of the time up and go, Berg balance scale, and maximal voluntary contraction in the intervention group at follow-up were significantly higher than those in the control group (p = 0.02, p = 0.01, p = 0.0002, respectively). The center of pressure in the mediolateral and in the anteroposterior directions, as well as the center of pressure area was significantly more improved in open eyes and closed eyes in the intervention group compared to the control group (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The neuromuscular electrical stimulation added to pulmonary rehabilitation group benefited from better walking tolerance and greater balance improvement than the only pulmonary rehabilitation.

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