Research conducted in recent years suggests that neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the lower limb muscles (NMES) may be an alternative to physical training in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Through stimulating the work of the muscles, NMES raises the exercise tolerance, muscle mass and endurance in patients with CHF. A beneficial effect of NMES on muscle blood flow, aerobic enzymes activity, vascular endothelial function, decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and improvement of quality of life has been indicated. It must be emphasized that NMES procedures are comfortable for patients with CHF due to lower exercise load and therefore less intense symptoms of dyspnea. Moreover, these procedures may be conducted at home (after prior training). The possible side effects include temporary muscle soreness and skin impairment resulting from improper placement of electrodes (patients in ambulatory conditions).
2. Banerjee P. Electrical muscle stimulation for chronic heart failure: an alternative tool for exercise training? Curr Heart Fail Rep, 2010; 7:52-58
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