Transcranial direct current stimulation for improving spasticity after stroke: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Bernhard Elsner, Joachim Kugler, Marcus Pohl, Jan Mehrholz*

*Corresponding author for this work
30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate the evidence regarding transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and to assess its impact on spasticity after stroke. Data sources: The following databases were searched up to 6 January 2016: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library, latest issue), MEDLINE (from 1948), EMBASE (from 1980), CINAHL (from 1982), AMED (from 1985), Science Citation Index (from 1900). Study selection: One author screened titles and abstracts and eliminated obviously irrelevant studies. Two authors retrieved the full text of the remaining studies and checked them for inclusion. Data extraction: Two authors independently extracted data from the studies using predefined data extraction sheets. In case an author of being involved in an included trial, another author extracted data. Data synthesis: Five trials were included, with a total of 315 participants. There was moderate-to-low quality of evidence for no effect of tDCS on improving spasticity at the end of the intervention period. There were no studies examining the effect of tDCS on improving spasticity at long-term follow-up. Conclusion: There is moderate-to-low quality evidence for no effect of tDCS on improving spasticity in people with stroke.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 07.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-07 Clinical Neurology Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology

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