Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may attenuate muscle proteolysis after cardiovascular surgery: A preliminary study

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Abstract

Objective:

To explore the efficacy of postoperative neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on muscle protein degradation and muscle weakness in patients after cardiovascular surgery.

Methods:

Sixty-one patients underwent NMES daily from postoperative days (PODs) 1 to 5 in addition to postoperative mobilization program (NMES group), and 41 patients underwent postoperative mobilization program only (non-NMES group). The primary outcome was the concentration of 3-methylhistidine (3-MH) in 24-hour urine corrected for urinary creatinine content (3-MH/Cre) from PODs 1 to 5. The secondary outcomes were knee extensor isometric strength (KEIS) and handgrip strength at POD 7.

Results:

Baseline characteristics such as age, sex, preoperative body mass index, hemoglobin, handgrip strength, KEIS, surgery type, cardiopulmonary bypass time, and immediate postoperative interleukin-6 were not different between the groups. Urinary 3-MH/Cre was increased significantly in both groups; however, urinary 3-MH/Cre in the NMES group peaked earlier compared with that in the non-NMES group. KEIS at POD 7 was significantly greater in the NMES group (median [interquartile range], 0.40 kg/weight [0.33-0.45] in the NMES group vs 0.23 kg/weight [0.15-0.36] in the non-NMES group; P < .01). Handgrip strength at POD 7 was also significantly greater in the NMES group (median [interquartile range], 32 kg [24.5-35.3] in the NMES group vs 24 kg [16.0-30.0] in the non-NMES group; P < .01).

Conclusions:

This study demonstrated that NMES might attenuate skeletal muscle protein degradation and muscle weakness after cardiovascular surgery. A cause-effect relationship between NMES and functional preservation would be a future challenging issue.

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