Safety study of high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation in patients with chronic stroke.
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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a potential therapeutic tool to rehabilitate chronic stroke patients. In this study, the safety of high-frequency rTMS in stroke was investigated (Phase I).The safety of 20 and 25 Hz rTMS over the motor cortex (MC) of the affected hemisphere, with intensities of 110-130% of the motor threshold (MT), was evaluated using surface electromyography (EMG) of hand and arm muscles.Brief EMG bursts, possibly representing peripheral manifestations of after discharges, and spread of excitation to proximal muscles are considered to be associated with a high risk of seizure occurrence. These events were recorded after the rTMS trains. Neither increased MC excitability nor improved pinch force dynamometry was found after rTMS.Stimulation parameters for rTMS, which are safe for healthy volunteers, may lead to a higher risk for seizure occurrence in chronic stroke patients.rTMS at rates of 20 and 25 Hz using above threshold stimulation potentially increases the risk of seizures in patients with chronic stroke.