Heterotopic ossification in patients with traumatic head and spinal cord injury (SCI)

Editor: | 10. December 2018

Low-frequency pulsed magnetic therapy effects as a prophylaxis

A. Durovic, D. Miljkovic, Z. Brdareski, A. Plavšic, M. Jevtic, Military Medical Academy, Belgrade, Serbia, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy

Heterotopic ossification (HO) is an important complication of head and spinal cord injuries (SCI). Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) increases blood flow to the site of pain or inflammation = Inflammations and magnetic therapy, bringing more oxygen to that area and helping to remove toxic substances. The aim of this trial was to determine the effect of PEMF therapy as a prophylaxis of HO in patients with SCI. This clinical trial included 29 patients with traumatic SCI. The patients were randomly divided into an experimental (n = 14) and control group (n = 15). The patients in the experimental group, besides exercise and a range of motion therapy, were treated with PEMF therapy with the following characteristics: induction of 10 mT, frequency of 25 Hz and duration of 30 min.

The therapy started in the 7th week after the injury and lasted 4 weeks. The presence or absence of HO around the patients’ hips was checked by plane radiography and Brookers classification. Functional abilities and motor impairment were checked by the Functional Independent Measure (FIM), Barthel index and American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment class. Statistical analysis included the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Shapiro-Wilk test, Mann Whitney Exact test, Exact Wilcoxon signed rank test and the Fischer Exact test. Statistical significance was set up to p < 0.05. Results: At the end of the trial treatment no patient from the experimental group had HO. In the control group, five patients (33.3 %) had HO. At the end of the treatment, the majority of patients from the experimental group (57.14 %) moved from the ASIA-A to ASIA-B class.

Conclusion: Low-frequency pulsed magnetic therapy helps as a prophylaxis of HO in patients with traumatic SCI.

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Find out more about PEMF: Principle of Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)