Table 3

Intervention characteristics, outcomes and main results of the studies included in the systematic review
Study Interventions by group/side NMES parameters Outcomesa (tools) Main results
C N
Abdellaoui et al.[42] ALM + sham NMES to quadriceps and hamstrings ALM + NMES to quadriceps and hamstrings (BL): 60 min/day × 5 days/week × 6 weeks Frequency: 35 Hz Muscle strength (dynamometry) Quadriceps strength increased more for N than C (p < 0.01)
Pulse duration: 400 μs
Intensity: 15-32 mA for quadriceps, 22-47 mA for hamstrings (start-end)
Gerovasili et al.[25] Usual care Usual care + NMES to quadriceps and peroneus longus (BL): 55 min/day × 8 days Frequency: 45 Hz Muscle thickness (US) Rectus femoris and vastus intermedius (right side) thickness decreased less for N than C (p < 0.05); d = 0.11-0.39 (small-moderate)
Pulse duration: 400 μs
On-off ratio: 12-6 s
Intensity: 37-38 mA (mean)
Gruther et al.[43] Sham NMES NMES to quadriceps (BL): 30-60 min/day × 5 days/week × 4 weeks Frequency: 50 Hz Muscle thickness (US) Quadriceps thickness increased only for N (long-term patients) (p < 0.13); d = 0.36 (moderate)
Pulse duration: 350 μs
On-off ratio: 8-24 s
Intensity: tolerance
Karatzanos et al.[34] Usual care Usual care + NMES to quadriceps and peroneus longus (BL): 55 min/day × 7 days/week until ICU discharge Frequency: 45 Hz Muscle strength (MRC) MRC scores for wrist flexion, hip flexion, ankle dorsiflexion (p < 0.05) and knee extension (p < 0.01) were greater for N than C
Pulse duration: 400 μs
On-off ratio: 12-6 s
Intensity: motor threshold
Poulsen et al.[44] Contralateral side acted as control NMES to quadriceps (UL): 60 min/day × 7 days Frequency: 35 Hz Muscle volume (CT) Quadriceps volume decreased for both C and N, with no difference between sides (p = 0.1)
Pulse duration: 300 μs
On-off ratio: 4-6 s
Intensity: motor threshold
+50% (adjusted daily)
Rodríguez et al.[45] Contralateral side acted as control NMES to biceps brachii and quadriceps (UL): 2 × 30 min/day × 13 days Frequency: 100 Hz Muscle strength (MRC) MRC scores for elbow flexion (p = 0.005) and knee extension (p = 0.034) were greater for N than C. Biceps thickness was unchanged
Pulse duration: 300 μs
On-off ratio: 2-4 s Muscle thickness (US)
Voltage: 20-200 V
Routsi et al.[35] Usual care Usual care + NMES to quadriceps and peroneus longus (BL): 55 min/day × 7 days/week until ICU discharge Frequency: 45 Hz Muscle strength (MRC) Global MRC score was greater for N than C (p = 0.04)
Pulse duration: 400 μs
On-off ratio: 12-6 s
Intensity: motor threshold
Zanotti et al.[46] ALM: 5 days/week × 4 weeks ALM + NMES to quadriceps and glutei (BL): 25-30 min/day × 5 days/week × 4 weeks Frequency: 8-35 Hz Muscle strength (MRC) MRC score increased more for N than C (p < 0.02); d = 1.44 (large)
Pulse duration: 250-350 μs
Intensity: motor threshold

ALM, active limb mobilization; BL, bilateral; C, control group; MRC, Medical Research Council; N, NMES group; NMES, neuromuscular electrical stimulation; US, ultrasonography.

Maffiuletti et al.

Maffiuletti et al. BMC Medicine 2013 11:137   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-137

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