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Antihypertensive effect of low-frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in comparison with drug treatment

Journal article
Authors Jonas Silverdal
Georgios Mourtzinis
Elisabet Stener-Victorin
Clas Mannheimer
Karin Manhem
Published in Blood pressure
Volume 21
Issue 5
Pages 306-310
ISSN 1651-1999
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 306-310
Language en
Keywords blood pressure, felodipin, hypertension, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, TENS, treatment
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Hypertension is a major risk factor for vascular disease, yet blood pressure (BP) control is unsatisfactory low, partly due to side-effects. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is well tolerated and studies have demonstrated BP reduction. In this study, we compared the BP lowering effect of 2.5 mg felodipin once daily with 30 min of bidaily low-frequency TENS in 32 adult hypertensive subjects (mean office BP 152.7/90.0 mmHg) in a randomized, crossover design. Office BP and 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) were performed at baseline and at the end of each 4-week treatment and washout period. Felodipin reduced office BP by 10/6 mmHg (p <0.001 respectively) and after washout BP rose to a level still significantly lower than at baseline. TENS reduced office BP by 5/1.5 mmHg (p <0.01, ns). After TENS washout, BP was further reduced and significantly lower than at baseline, but at levels similar to BP after felodipin washout and therefore reasonably caused by factors other than the treatment per se. ABPM revealed a significant systolic reduction of 3 mmHg by felodipin, but no significant changes were noted after TENS. We conclude that our study does not present any solid evidence of BP reduction of TENS.

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