The effect of training on endurance and the cardiovascular responses of individuals with paraplegia during dynamic exercise induced by functional electrical stimulation

Summary

Endurance for dynamic exercise, cardiac output, blood pressure, heart rate, ventilation, and oxygen consumption was measured in eight individuals with paraplegia at the end of 4-min bouts of exercise on a friction braked cycle ergometer. Movement of the subjects' legs was induced by electrically stimulating the quadriceps, gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles with a computer-controlled biphasic square — wave current at a frequency of 30 Hz. The friction braked cycle ergometer was pedalled at work rates which varied between 0 and 40 W. Measurements were repeated after 3 and 6 months to assess the affect of training. After 3 months of training it was found that endurance increased from 8 min at a work rate of 0 W to 30 min at a work rate of 40 W. Compared to the cardiovascular responses in non-paralyzed subjects, computerized cycle ergometry was found to be associated with higher relative stresses for a given level of absolute work. Mean blood pressure, for example, increased by over 30% during maximal work in individuals with paralysis compared to the typical response obtained for able-bodied subjects. Analysis of the data showed that instead of the 20-30% metabolic efficiency commonly reported for cycle ergometry, the calculated metabolic efficiency during computer-controlled cycle ergometry was only 3.6%.

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Correspondence to Jerrold S. Petrofsky.

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Petrofsky, J.S., Stacy, R. The effect of training on endurance and the cardiovascular responses of individuals with paraplegia during dynamic exercise induced by functional electrical stimulation. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 64, 487–492 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00843755

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Key words

  • Exertion
  • Exercise
  • Paralysis
  • Paraplegic
  • Spinal cord injury