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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Vol. 39 No. 6, November/December 2002
Pages 685-692


A multistage field test of wheelchair users for evaluation of fitness and prediction of peak oxygen consumption
Marc Vanderthommen, PhD; Marc Francaux, PhD; Cédrik Colinet, BS; Cédric Lehance, BS;
Claude Lhermerout, PhD; Jean-Michel Crielaard, PhD; Daniel Theisen, PhD
Institut Supérieur d’Education Physique et de Kinésithérapie et Réadaptation, Université de Liège, B21, Sart-Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium, Europe; Institut d’Éducation Physique et de Réadaptation, Université Catholique de Louvain, Place Pierre de Coubertin 1, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, Europe
Abstract—An incremental multistage field test (MFT) for wheelchair users was developed to evaluate physical fitness and predict peak oxygen consumption (VO2). Using auditory feedback, the participants (n = 37) were directed to wheel around an octagonal course, increasing their velocity every minute until exhaustion. Wheelchair velocity and metabolic parameters were recorded with the use of a speedometer and a portable spirometer system. The average number of exercise levels performed (MFT score) was 9.17 ± 5.81, resulting in a peak heart rate (HR) of 99.0 ± 13.9% of the theoretical maximum. A test-retest analysis (n = 10) showed that the MFT was reliable regarding MFT score, peak VO2, and peak HR reached. Stepwise multiple regression based on individual, wheelchair, propulsion technique, and physiological parameters revealed that the MFT score was the best and only predictor of peak VO2 (mL/min/kg) (= 18.03 + 0.78 MFT score, r2 = 0.59). The MFT assesses wheelchair mobility and estimates peak VO2 encountered during the test.

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