Effects of TENS in living kidney donors submitted to open nephrectomy: A randomized placebo-controlled trial

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Pain is a negative factor in the recovery process of postoperative patients. It causes pulmonary alterations and complications, and it also affects functional capacity. Several studies have investigated the effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) during the postoperative period. However, no studies have assessed the effects of TENS on kidney donors. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of TENS on pain, walking function, respiratory muscle strength and vital capacity in kidney donors.


Seventy-four patients were randomly allocated into two groups: active TENS or placebo TENS. All patients were assessed for pain intensity, respiratory muscle strength, vital capacity and walking function before and after the TENS application on the first day of the postoperative period.


The use of active TENS significantly reduced pain at rest (p = 0.006), during the measurement of maximal inspiratory pressure (p = 0.006), during maximal expiratory pressure (p = 0.004) and during vital capacity (p = 0.013). Active TENS also produced a significant increase in maximal expiratory pressure when compared with the placebo TENS group (p = 0.001). Maximal inspiratory pressure, vital capacity and walking function were not significantly different between the two treatment groups.


These results suggest that TENS decreases pain intensity at rest and during respiratory manoeuvres and increases maximal expiratory pressure during the postoperative period in kidney donors after open nephrectomy.

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