Effect of extracorporeal shockwave therapy on muscle spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy: meta-analysis and systematic review.
Recently, clinical trials have been performed to evaluate the efficacy of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). However, various studies adopted different clinical scales, making it insufficient to draw a definite conclusion about the efficacy of ESWT in reducing spasticity after cerebral palsy. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to assess the effects of ESWT on reducing spasticity after applying ESWT in patients with CP.
In accordance with the PRISMA statement, authors searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Scopus from their inception dates through December 11th 2018. We included randomised controlled trials in any language that using ESWT for the purpose of ameliorating spasticity in patients with CP. We assessed spasticity measured by modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), range of motion (ROM) and baropodometric values as outcomes.
Two authors independently extracted and verified data. Meta-analysis was completed where possible, otherwise data were synthesised narratively. From a total of 206 articles, 16 manuscripts were selected and 5 of them were ultimately included in this meta-analysis. MAS grade as primary outcome was significantly improved after ESWT compared to that in the control group (mean difference [MD]: -0.62; 95% CI: -1.52 to -0.18). ROM after ESWT was also significantly improved compared to that in the control groups (MD: 18.01; 95% CI: 6.11 to 29.91). Baropodometric measures showed significantly increases in foot contact area during gait (SMD: 29.00; 95% CI: 11.08 to 46.92), but not significantly in peak pressure under the heel (MD: 15.12; 95% CI: -1.85 to 32.10) immediately after ESWT.
No serious side effects were observed in any patient after ESWT. ESWT may be a valid alternative to existing treatment options targeting spasticity diminishment and ROM improvement in CP patients to maintain healthy lifestyles and normalize spastic gait pattern. Further standardization of treatment protocols including treatment intervals and intensities needs to be established and long-term follow-up studies are needed to verify our results.