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National Stroke Awareness

Cerebral vascular accident (CVA), or stroke, affects 795,000 individuals each year and is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing 130,000. Additionally, it is the leading cause of serious long-term disability. Individuals who suffer a stroke often have communication challenges, dysphagia, pain, edema, depression, limitations in mobility, and impaired functional ability.1, 2
Approximately 87% of all strokes are ischemic.1 The ACP Accelerated Clinical Practice for stroke recovery highlights protocols for ischemic stroke with upper and lower extremity set-ups using acupoints to facilitate function, reduce pain, increase blood profusion, decrease depression, improve sleep disturbances, and decrease anxiety. The body inch system is used to determine location of acupoints. (See ACP’s desk reference for additional details.)

Upper and lower extremity triphasic patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation (PENS) is used to help re-establish normal recruitment and firing of joint musculature post-stroke. PENS assists with patient compliance when edematous joints, flaccidity, and hypertonicity make therapeutic exercise challenging.

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33% of individuals who have had a CVA have unresolved edema which typically appears on the dorsum of the hand and lasts greater than two months. Muscle inactivity is the principle factor in stroke hand edema. MFAC Muscle Pump to the wrist and finger flexors/extensors with the arm elevated, hand free to move, and patient assisting during stimulation provides the best pumping to reduce edema. 

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For more information about ACP's Stroke Recovery program click here