BMC Research Notes (Jun 2018)

Acceptability and feasibility of magnetic femoral nerve stimulation in older, functionally impaired patients

  • Louise A. Beveridge,
  • Rosemary J. G. Price,
  • Louise A. Burton,
  • Miles D. Witham,
  • Allan D. Struthers,
  • Deepa Sumukadas

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 5


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Abstract Objective Magnetic femoral nerve stimulation to test muscle function has been largely unexplored in older people. We assessed acceptability, feasibility, along with reproducibility and correlation with other physical function measures. Results Study 1 recruited older people with sarcopenia. Stimulation was performed at baseline and 2 weeks along with six minute walk (6MW), maximum voluntary quadriceps contraction, short physical performance battery and grip strength. Acceptability was measured using visual analog scales. Study 2 used baseline data from a trial of older people. We correlated stimulation results with 6MW, maximal voluntary contraction and muscle mass. Maximum quadriceps twitch tension was measured in both studies, evoked using biphasic magnetic stimulation of the femoral nerve. In study 1 (n = 12), magnetic stimulation was well tolerated with mean discomfort rating of 9% (range 0–40%) on a visual analog scale. Reproducibility was poor (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.06; p = 0.44). Study 2 (n = 64) showed only weak to moderate correlations for maximum quadriceps twitch tension with other measures of physical function (6 minute walk test r = 0.24, p = 0.06; maximal voluntary contraction r = 0.26; p = 0.04). We conclude that magnetic femoral nerve stimulation is acceptable and feasible but poorly reproducible in older, functionally impaired people.