Evaluating the effects of tDCS in stroke patients using functional outcomes

Evaluating the effects of tDCS in stroke patients using functional outcomes: a systematic review.

Background and purpose: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been extensively studied over the past 20 years to promote functional motor recovery after stroke. However, tDCS clinical relevance still needs to be determined. The present systematic review aims to determine whether tDCS applied to the primary motor cortex (M1) in stroke patients can have a positive effect on functional motor outcomes.Materials and methods: Two databases (Medline & Scopus) were searched for randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled trials pertaining to the use of M1 tDCS on cerebral stroke patients, and its effects on validated functional motor outcomes. When data were provided, effect sizes were calculated. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018108157Results: 46 studies (n = 1291 patients) met inclusion criteria. Overall study quality was good (7.69/10 on the PEDro scale). Over half (56.5%) the studies were on chronic stroke patients. There seemed to be a certain pattern of recurring parameters, but tDCS protocols still remain heterogeneous. Overall results were positive (71.7% of studies found that tDCS has positive results on functional motor outcomes). Effect-sizes ranged from 0 to 1.33. No severe adverse events were reported.

Conclusion: Despite heterogeneous stimulation parameters, outcomes and patient demographics, tDCS seems to be complementary to classical and novel rehabilitation approaches. With minimal adverse effects (if screening parameters are respected), none of which were serious, and a high potential to improve recovery when using optimal parameters (i.e.: 20 min of stimulation, at 2 mA with 25 or 35cm2 electrodes that are regularly humidified), tDCS could potentially be ready for clinical applications. Implications for Rehabilitation tDCS could potentially be ready for clinical application. Evidence of very low to very high quality is available on the effectiveness of tDCS to improve motor control following stroke. This should with caution be focused on the primary motor cortex.

PMID: 32394750 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Disabil Rehabil. 2020 May 12;:1-11

Authors: Bornheim S, Thibaut A, Beaudart C, Maquet P, Croisier JL, Kaux JF





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