Repetitive Peripheral Sensory Stimulation and Upper Limb Performance in Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Academic Article


  • Background. Enhancement of sensory input in the form of repetitive peripheral sensory stimulation (RPSS) can enhance excitability of the motor cortex and upper limb performance. Objective. To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of effects of RPSS compared with control stimulation on improvement of motor outcomes in the upper limb of subjects with stroke. Methods. We searched studies published between 1948 and December 2017 and selected 5 studies that provided individual data and applied a specific paradigm of stimulation (trains of 1-ms pulses at 10 Hz, delivered at 1 Hz). Continuous data were analyzed with means and standard deviations of differences in performance before and after active or control interventions. Adverse events were also assessed. Results. There was a statistically significant beneficial effect of RPSS on motor performance (standard mean difference between active and control RPSS, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.09-1.24; I2 = 65%). Only 1 study included subjects in the subacute phase after stroke. Subgroup analysis of studies that only included subjects in the chronic phase showed a significant effect (1.04; 95% CI, 0.66-1.42) with no heterogeneity. Significant results were obtained for outcomes of body structure and function as well as for outcomes of activity limitation according to the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health, when only studies that included subjects in the chronic phase were analyzed. No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusions. RPSS is a safe intervention with potential to become an adjuvant tool for upper extremity paresis rehabilitation in subjects with stroke in the chronic phase.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Conforto AB; dos Anjos SM; Bernardo WM; Silva AAD; Conti J; Machado AG; Cohen LG
  • Start Page

  • 863
  • End Page

  • 871
  • Volume

  • 32
  • Issue

  • 10