Original research| Volume 96, ISSUE 4, P627-632, April 2015

Pilot Study: Evaluation of the Effect of Functional Electrical Stimulation Cycling on Muscle Metabolism in Nonambulatory People With Multiple Sclerosis

Published:November 03, 2014DOI:



      To investigate the changes in muscle oxygen consumption (m V ˙ O2) using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) after 4 weeks of training with functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling in nonambulatory people with multiple sclerosis (MS).


      Four-week before-after trial to assess changes in m V ˙ O2 after an FES cycling intervention.


      Rehabilitation hospital.


      People (N=8; 7 men, 1 women) from a volunteer/referred sample with moderate to severe MS (Expanded Disability Status Scale score>6.0).


      Participants cycled 30 minutes per session, 3d/wk for 4 weeks or a total of 12 sessions.

      Main Outcome Measures

      m V ˙ O2 of the right vastus lateralis muscle was measured with NIRS before and within 1 week after the intervention. Six bouts of 15-second electrical stimulation increasing from 2 to 7Hz were used to activate the muscle. m V ˙ O2 was assessed by analyzing the slope of the NIRS oxygen signal during a 10-second arterial occlusion after each electrical stimulation bout.


      Significant FES training by electrical stimulation frequency level interaction was observed (P=.031), with an average increase in m V ˙ O2 of 47% across frequencies with a main effect of training (P=.047).


      FES cycling for 4 weeks improved m V ˙ O2, suggesting that FES cycling is a potential therapy for improving muscle health in people with MS who are nonambulatory.


      List of abbreviations:

      FES (functional electrical stimulation), MS (multiple sclerosis), mV˙O2 (muscle oxygen consumption), NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy), 31P-MRS (31 phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy), RPM (revolutions per minute)
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