Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 129–134 | Cite as

Exercise test in Parkinson's disease

  • Iris Reuter
  • Martin Engelhardt
  • Jürgen Freiwaldt
  • Horst Baas
Research Paper


In this study we assessed cardiovascular performance and metabolic response after an exercise test in Parkinsonian patients (PD patients). Methods: 15 PD patients (10 male, 5 female; mean age;63±6.17 y; mean weight: 72.2±9.5 kg) and 15 sex, age (mean: 63.8±5.38 y), and weight-(mean: 72.2±8.69 kg) matched controls performed an exercise test using a cycle ergometer and a ramp protocol. All patients and control subjects underwent a heart rate variability test prior to the exercise test. At rest and at the end of each interval blood pressure (BP) and capillary lactate samples were taken. Heart rate was monitored continuously. Results: The heart rate variability tests were abnormal in Parkinson's patients. All patients and control subjects achieved an intensity level of 75 watts, 12/15 PD patients managed 100 watts, and 7/15 PD patients managed 150 watts. 12/15 control subjects performed at an intensity level of 125 Watts and 9/15 at an intensity level of 150 Watts. There was no statistically significant difference in heart rate increase but there was a tendency to lower lactate levels at high intensity levels in PD patients. PD patients had a statistically lower systolic BP at 75, 100, 125, and 150 watts. Conclusion: We did not find striking differences in cardiovascular adaptation to physical work in PD patients and we propose, therefore, that it should be possible to improve cardiovascular endurance in PD patients. Previously, reports have suggested respiratory chain impairment in Parkinson's disease and poor endurance performance. However, our results do not support a clinically relevant impairment of the respiratory chain.


Parkinson's disease lactate bicycle ergometer heart rate variability physical capacity respiratory chain 


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Copyright information

© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris Reuter
    • 1
  • Martin Engelhardt
    • 2
  • Jürgen Freiwaldt
    • 2
  • Horst Baas
    • 3
  1. 1.Neuroscience Centre King's College HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsJ.W. Goethe-UniversityFrankfurtGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyJ.W. Goethe-UniversityFrankfurtGermany

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