Direct stimulation of the peroneal nerve by the ActiGait implantable drop foot stimulator is a potent therapy that was described previously for stroke-related drop foot. The authors report here successful long-term application of the ActiGait implantable drop foot stimulator in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Six patients with MS and 2 years of persisting central leg paresis received an implantable ActiGait drop foot stimulator after successful surface test stimulation. Ten weeks and 1 year after surgery, their gait speed, endurance, and safety were evaluated. Patient satisfaction was assessed with a questionnaire.
In the 20-m gait test, stimulation with the ActiGait stimulator significantly reduced the time needed, on average, by approximately 23.6% 10 weeks after surgery, and the time improved further by 36.3% after 1 year. The median distance covered by patients with the stimulator after 6 minutes of walking increased significantly from 217 m to 321 m and remained stable for 1 year; the distance covered by patients after surface stimulation was 264 m. Patients with an implanted ActiGait stimulator noticed pronounced improvement in their mobility, social participation, and quality of life.
The ActiGait implantable drop foot stimulator improved gait speed, endurance, and quality of life in all patients over a period of 1 year. It may serve as a new therapeutic option for patients with MS-related drop foot.