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WSC 2023 | Functional electrical stimulation to improve mobility in stroke patients

Rosalyn Grabarz, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, Birmingham, UK, speaks on the transformative impact of functional electrical stimulation (FES) within her clinical practice, particularly to improve the mobility of stroke patients. FES for gait uses a pressure-sensitive device designed to deliver targeted electrical stimulation to enhance muscle contraction. Gait disturbances are a common challenge encountered by stroke survivors. The device is connected to the insole of the patients’ shoe and sends electrical stimulation to the muscles of the foot to allow greater elevation when walking. In Ms. Grabarz’s clinic, 312 patients were issued FES devices for function or exercise between 1995 and 2019. Subsequent follow-up assessments have revealed a pronounced orthotic effect. The device contributed to a 3 meters per minute increase in walking speed when first issued, which progressively improved to 10 meters per minute approximately two years after issue. Patients reported having reduced spasticity, increased confidence, and reduced tripping. This interview took place at the World Stroke Congress (WSC) 2023 in Toronto, Canada.

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