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Volume 45 Number 6, 2008
   Pages 819 — 830

Abstract - Effects of modified electrical stimulation-induced leg cycle ergometer training for individuals with spinal cord injury

Thomas W. J. Janssen, PhD;1-2* D. Drew Pringle, EdD2

1Research Institute MOVE, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Duyvensz-Nagel Research Laboratory, Rehabilitation Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, OH

Abstract — Computer-controlled electrical stimulation (ES)-induced leg cycle ergometer (ES-LCE) exercise can be beneficial for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), but exercise performance is often insufficient for eliciting continuous gains in cardiopulmonary training adaptations. The first purpose of this study was to determine whether a modified ES-LCE improved exercise performance and responses compared with the standard ES-LCE. Modifications to the ES-LCE included increased ES current amplitude (140–300 mA), added shank muscle activation, and increased ES firing angle ranges (+55°). The second purpose was to evaluate the effects of a 6-week interval training program (ITP) with this modified methodology on ES-LCE exercise performance, peak metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses, and muscle strength in experienced and novice riders. No significantly different peak values for power output and stroke volume were found for the two systems, but the modified ES-LCE elicited significantly higher peak values for oxygen uptake (+22%), carbon dioxide production (+51%), pulmonary ventilation (+37%), cardiac output (+32%), heart rate (+19%),and blood lactate concentration (+50%). Power output, metabolic rate, and lower-limb muscle strength increased significantly following training. This study showed that an ITP with the modified ES-LCE can elicit marked improvements in ES-LCE performance (peak power output), peak metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses, and muscle strength in men with SCI, even inthose subjects whose performance has plateaued during training on the standard ES-LCE.

Key words: cardiopulmonary response, electric stimulation therapy, exercise therapy, leg cycle ergometer, metabolicresponse, muscle performance, paraplegia, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, tetraplegia.

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