Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation with upper limb repetitive task practice may improve sensory recovery in chronic stroke

BAIG, Sheharyar Sajjad, FALIDAS, Konstantinos, LAUD, Peter J., SNOWDON, Nicky, FAROOQ, Muhammad Umar, ALI, Ali, MAJID, Arshad and REDGRAVE, Jessica N. (2019). Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation with upper limb repetitive task practice may improve sensory recovery in chronic stroke. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 28 (12), p. 104348.

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Background: Sensory impairment is associated with reduced functional recovery in stroke survivors. Invasive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with rehabilitative interventions improves motor recovery in chronic stroke. Noninvasive approaches, for example, transcutaneous auricular VNS (taVNS) are safe, well-tolerated and may also improve motor function in those with residual weakness. We report the impact of taVNS paired with a motor intervention, repetitive task practice, on sensory recovery in a cohort of patients with chronic stroke. Methods: Twelve participants who were more than 3 months postischemic stroke with residual upper limb weakness received 18 × 1 hour sessions over 6 weeks with an average of at least 300 repetitions of functional arm movements per session concurrently with taVNS at maximum tolerated intensity. Light touch and proprioception were scored as part of the Upper Limb Fugl-Meyer (UFM) assessment at baseline and postintervention (score range for sensation 0-12). Results: Eleven participants (92%) had sensory impairment at baseline of whom 7 (64%) regained some sensation (proprioception n = 6 participants, light touch n = 2, both modalities n = 1) postintervention. The maximal increase in UFM sensation score (3 points) was seen in the patient with the greatest improvement in motor function. Conclusions: taVNS paired with motor rehabilitation may improve sensory recovery in chronic stroke patients. The relative contribution of motor and sensory rehabilitation to overall functional recovery in chronic stroke needs further characterization in a larger, phase 2 study.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Article version: AM ** Embargo end date: 31-12-9999 ** From Elsevier via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for AM version of this article: This article is under embargo with an end date yet to be finalised. **Journal IDs: issn 10523057 **History: issue date 27-09-2019; accepted 11-08-2019
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Page Range: p. 104348
SWORD Depositor: Helen Garner
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 12:32
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 22:30

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