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Functional electrical stimulation to aid walking in patients with adrenomyeloneuropathy: A case study and observational series

Goodison, W., Baron, F. ORCID: 0000-0001-6187-8114, Seary, C. , Murphy, E., Lachmann, R. & Stevenson, V. L. (2022). Functional electrical stimulation to aid walking in patients with adrenomyeloneuropathy: A case study and observational series. JIMD Rep, 63(1), pp. 11-18. doi: 10.1002/jmd2.12254


Adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) is a rare inherited condition where affected individuals develop slowly progressive spastic paraparesis with a gradual decline in walking ability. There is no cure for AMN and treatment focuses on supportive measures and aids. One treatment option is functional electrical stimulation (FES), a treatment, approved by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for managing foot drop in upper motor neuron disorders. Limited evidence exists for its use in AMN patients. We describe the effects of FES in an individual case and more broadly within a cohort of 21 patients successfully treated with FES. Patients with AMN referred for FES typically report frequent falls (71%) and foot drop (57%) as the most common barriers to walking. When using FES, walking speed at baseline (0.70 m/s [SD = 0.2]) was maintained at the 2-year review (0.68 m/s [SD = 0.2]) with a persistent orthotic effect (improvement in walking speed when device on vs. off) seen from wearing FES over the same 2-year period (11%-19%). Patient walking satisfaction (visual analogue scale: 0 - very dissatisfied; 10 - very satisfied) was also greater when comparing no-FES versus FES over the same period (Year 1: 2.5 vs. 7.7; Year 2: 2.1 vs. 6.1). FES is not effective in all patients. Twelve patients referred found no benefit from the device; although there was no clear evidence, this was related to the degree of AMN associated peripheral neuropathy. However, FES is a safe, cost-effective treatment option and should be considered, along with assessment in a multidisciplinary clinic, for all AMN patients with walking difficulties.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: adrenomyeloneuropathy; foot drop; functional electrical stimulation; walking satisfaction; walking speed
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
[thumbnail of JIMD Reports - 2021 - Goodison - Functional electrical stimulation to aid walking in patients with adrenomyeloneuropathy  A.pdf]
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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