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The effect of corrective surgery on energy expenditure during ambulation in children with cerebral palsy


Mechanical efficiency, heart rate, blood lactate, and some other variables were studied in six children with cerebral palsy who walked on a treadmill before and after corrective surgery. During each test, conducted at each child's naturally selected speed, two situations were studied: steady state level walking for 9 min, and then walking at an increasing inclination up to 20% for another 10 min. During the test the subjects were allowed to hold on to a handrail to eliminate the risk of falling off the treadmill. The corrective surgery resulted in a 5% reduction in oxygen consumption per kg body mass during level walking. The subjects' levels of physical fitness, as estimated from oxygen pulse, however, were unchanged. These results are indicative of a biomechanical improvement due to the corrective surgery. While walking at a 20% inclination the subjects off loaded themselves to different degrees on the handrail which influenced the results. Their feeling of exhaustion at this load was probably due to local factors, since heart rate was well below maximal values, and blood lactate, respiratory exchange ratio and ventilatory equivalent also indicated that they were below their anaerobic thresholds (50–60% of maximal oxygen uptake).

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DahlbÄck, G.O., Norlin, R. The effect of corrective surgery on energy expenditure during ambulation in children with cerebral palsy. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 54, 67–70 (1985).

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  • Cerebral palsy
  • Children
  • Ambulation
  • Oxygen consumption