Open Access Study protocol

Effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on pain, walking function, respiratory muscle strength and vital capacity in kidney donors: a protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Thiago Tafarel Galli, Luciana Dias Chiavegato, Nathália Risso Santiago and Richard Eloin Liebano*

Author Affiliations

Physical Therapy Department, University of the City of Sao Paulo (UNICID), Sao Paulo, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Nephrology 2013, 14:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-7

Published: 11 January 2013



Pain is a negative factor in the recovery process of postoperative patients, causing pulmonary alterations and complications and affecting functional capacity. Thus, it is plausible to introduce transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain relief to subsequently reduce complications caused by this pain in the postoperative period. The objective of this paper is to assess the effects of TENS on pain, walking function, respiratory muscle strength and vital capacity in kidney donors.


Seventy-four patients will be randomly allocated into 2 groups: active TENS or placebo TENS. All patients will be assessed for pain intensity, walk function (Iowa Gait Test), respiratory muscle strength (maximal inspiratory pressure and maximal expiratory pressure) and vital capacity before and after the TENS application. The data will be collected by an assessor who is blinded to the group allocation.


This study is the first to examine the effects of TENS in this population. TENS during the postoperative period may result in pain relief and improvements in pulmonary tests and mobility, thus leading to an improved quality of life and further promoting organ donation.

Trial registration

Registro Brasileiro de Ensaios Clinicos (ReBEC), number RBR-8xtkjp.

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation; Postoperative pain; Nephrectomy; Kidney transplantation; Respiratory function tests