Motor dysfunction of the hand and upper limb is a major cause of physical disability for patients with chronic stroke. Our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of a peripheral plus central repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment for upper limb motor rehabilitation in chronic stroke patients.
Material and method
We reported the case of a patient WLX, who had one ischemic stroke more than 3 years ago, and had underwent intermittent rehabilitation since then. He still had profound right upper limb paralysis and moderate spasm, accompanied with non-fluent aphasia when came to our department; and complained that his recovery had been rather slow for about two years. In addition to the custom rehabilitation, we applied a peripheral plus central rTMS paradigm to him, which included 3 sessions of peripheral magnetic stimulation to his paralyzed right forearm, followed by a session of high frequency rTMS to the bilateral sensorimotor cortex region. The total magnetic stimulation therapy lasted about 30 min a day, and was applied 5 days/week for 4 weeks.
After 4 weeks’ treatment, the patient’s Fulg–Meyer upper limb assessment (FMA) score was obviously improved (from 27 to 37 points), and the spasm was largely relieved in his right hand and arm.
Peripheral plus central rTMS might be an effective treatment for motor dysfunction of chronic stroke patients.