Objective: To examine the effect of low-frequency acupoint electrical stimulation (LFES) on the surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals of the thumb-to-finger movement muscles in stroke patients, and to evaluate the clinical efficacy of LFES on hand function recovery after stroke.
Methods: Sixty patients who met the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to a LFES group or an electroacupuncture (EA) group, with 30 patients in each group. Both groups received conventional treatment, and the electroacupuncture group was treated with acupoints from the book of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, while the LFES group was treated with acupoints from a previous study.
The sEMG characteristic values (maximum value and RMS), Chinese Stroke Clinical Neurological Deficit Scale (CSS), Brunnstrom Motor Function Evaluation, Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Lindmark Hand Function Score and Lovett Muscle Strength Classification were measured before and after treatment.
Results: After treatment, both groups showed improvement in sEMG characteristic values, Brunnstrom motor function score, Lindmark hand function score, and Lovett muscle strength classification compared with before treatment, and the improvement in the LFES group was significantly better than that in the electroacupuncture group (P < .05).
The CSS score and MAS classification of both groups decreased compared with before treatment, and the decrease in the LFES group was significantly better than that in the electroacupuncture group (P < .05). The total effective rate of the LFES group was 92.86%, and that of the electroacupuncture group was 79.31%. The difference between the 2 groups was statistically significant (P < .05).
Conclusion: Both LFES and electroacupuncture were effective in restoring thumb-to-finger movement function after stroke, as evidenced by the increased maximum value and root mean square values of the first dorsal interosseous muscle and the extensor pollicis brevis muscle, the decreased CSS score, the increased Brunnstrom motor function score, the decreased MAS classification, the increased Lindmark hand function score, and the increased Lovett muscle strength classification. However, LFES showed more obvious improvement and better efficacy than electroacupuncture, which is worthy of clinical promotion.