Research Reports - Electrical stimulation for acute traumatic coma patients

J Neurotrauma. 2015 Feb 9

Lei J(1), Wang L, Gao G, Cooper E, Jiang JY

The right median nerve as a peripheral portal to the central nervous system can
be electrically stimulated to help coma arousal following traumatic brain injury
(TBI). The present study set out to examine the efficacy and safety of right
median nerve electrical stimulation (RMNS) in a cohort of 437 comatose patients
after severe traumatic brain injury from August 2005 to December 2011. The
patients were enrolled two weeks after their injury and assigned to the RMNS
group (n=221) receiving electrical stimulation for two weeks or the control group
(n=216) treated by standard management according to the date of birth in the
month. The baseline data was similar. After the two-week treatment the
RMNS-treated patients demonstrated a more rapid increase of the mean Glasgow coma
score Statistical significance was not reached (8.43±4.98 vs 7.47±5.37,
p=0.0532). The follow-up data at six-month post injury showed a significantly
higher proportion of patients who regained consciousness (59.8% vs 46.2%,
p=0.0073). There was a lower proportion of vegetative individuals in the RMNS
group than control group (17.6% vs 22.0%, p=0.0012). For people regaining
consciousness the functional independence measurement (FIM) score was higher
among the RMNS group patients (91.45±8.65 vs 76.23±11.02, p<0.001). There were no
unique complications associated with the RMNS treatment. In conclusion, the
current study, although with some limitations, showed that RMNS may serve as an
easy, effective and non-invasive technique to promote the recovery of traumatic
coma in the early phase.

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