OBJECTIVE. We investigated the effect of a combined neuromuscular electrical stimulation (ES) and dynamic hand orthosis (DHO) regimen with a group of people with chronic stroke to improve performance on specific daily tasks.
METHOD. Four people with chronic stroke participated in an ES–DHO regimen using the affected upper extremity 5×/wk for 6 wk. Outcome measures included grip strength, range of motion (ROM), and analysis of muscle activation–deactivation during release of grasp through electromyography. Ability to perform specific daily living tasks was assessed using the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS).
RESULTS. Results suggested that improvements in strength, ROM, and grasp deactivation are possible with the combined ES–DHO regimen. All participants’ AMPS motor scores improved.
CONCLUSIONS. An ES–DHO regimen may improve motor skills needed for functional task performance in people with chronic stroke. Results should be interpreted cautiously because of the pilot nature of the study and the small sample size.