Effects of a Fifty-Six Month Electrical Stimulation Cycling Program After Tetraplegia: Case Report

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Kinesiology and Nutrition


Background: Functional electrical stimulation cycling is a common clinical treatment for individuals with spinal cord injury and other paralytic conditions, however, the long term effects of home-based functional electrical stimulation cycling remains unreported.

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a long-term home-based functional electrical stimulation lower extremities cycling (FES-LEC) program on body composition.

Participant: An adult male 52.7 years of age at pre-intervention and 57.3 years of age at post-intervention with chronic C4 spinal cord injury and American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale C.

Methods: Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans were performed on the participant before and after the FES cycling program to determine body composition changes. An RT300 FES cycle was issued to the participant with the recommendation to cycle three times per week for general conditioning and the maintenance of physical health.

Results: Total body lean mass (LM) increased from 39.13 kg to 46.35 kg, an 18.5% increase while total body fat mass (FM) increased by just 3.7% from 20.85 kg to 21.64 kg. Legs LM increased by 10.9% (10.93 kg to 12.12 kg). There was a negligible decrease in total body bone mineral content (BMC) with a pre-training measure of 2.09 kg compared to a post-training measure of 1.98 kg. Lower extremities FM increased by less than 1% from 3.51 kg to 3.54 kg.

Conclusion: Natural limitations of a single subject case report disallow a causal conclusion. However, for this particular older adult with chronic tetraplegia, home-based FES-LEC appears to have resulted in cardio-metabolic protective body composition changes.

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The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine





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