Case report: Endurance electrical stimulation training improves skeletal muscle oxidative capacity in chronic spinal cord injury


Objective To describe the use of a novel neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) endurance exercise protocol and its effects on skeletal muscle oxidative capacity. Design Case report, pre/post intervention. Setting University-based trial. Participant A 39-year-old man who suffered a motor complete spinal cord injury (C5-6, ASIA Impairment Scale grade A). Intervention Twenty-four weeks of endurance NMES that consisted of progressive increases in the twitch frequency, duration of sessions, and sessions per week. Main Outcome Measure Mitochondrial capacity was measured, in vivo, as the rate of recovery of muscle oxygen consumption using near-infrared spectroscopy. Results The rate of recovery of muscle oxygen consumption increased approximately 3-fold from 0.52 to 1.43, 1.46, and 1.40/min measured on 3 separate occasions during week 12 of training, and 1.57/min after 24 weeks of NMES endurance training. Conclusion The findings of this study suggest that NMES endurance training using twitches can increase mitochondrial capacity to comparable levels measured in nonparalyzed muscles of sedentary able-bodied controls. © 2013 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation