Haemodynamic performance of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) during recovery from total hip arthroplastyBroderick, B.J., Breathnach, O., Condon, F. et al.
Patients post total hip arthroplasty (THA) remain at high risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) during the recovery period following surgery despite the availability of effective pharmacological and mechanical prophylactic methods. The use of calf muscle neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) during the hospitalised recovery period on this patient group may be effective at preventing DVT. However, the haemodynamic effectiveness and comfort characteristics of NMES in post-THA patients immediately following surgery have yet to be established.
The popliteal veins of 11 patients, who had undergone unilateral total hip replacement surgery on the day previous to the study, were measured using Doppler ultrasound during a 4 hour neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) session of the calf muscles. The effect of calf muscle NMES on peak venous velocity, mean venous velocity and volume flow were compared to resting values. Comfort was assessed using a 100mm non-hatched visual analogue scale taken before application of NMES, once NMES was initiated and before NMES was withdrawn.
In the operated limb NMES produced increases in peak venous velocity of 99% compared to resting. Mean velocity increased by 178% compared to resting and volume flow increased by 159% compared to resting. In the un-operated limb, peak venous velocity increased by 288%, mean velocity increased by 354% and volume flow increased by 614% compared to basal flow (p<0.05 in all cases). There were no significant differences observed between the VAS scores taken before the application of NMES, once NMES was initiated and before NMES was withdrawn (p=.211).
NMES produces a beneficial hemodynamic response in patients in the early post-operative period following orthopaedic surgery. This patient group found extended periods of calf-muscle NMES tolerable.