Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 2, 2015
   Pages 147 — 158

Abstract — Heart rate and oxygen demand of powered exoskeleton–assisted walking in persons with paraplegia

Pierre Asselin, MS;1 Steven Knezevic, MS;1 Stephen Kornfeld, DO;1–2 Christopher Cirnigliaro, MS;1 Irina Agranova-Breyter, PT;3 William A. Bauman, MD;1,4 Ann M. Spungen, EdD1,4*

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, 2Spinal Cord Injury Patient Care Center, and 3Rehabilitation Medicine, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY; 4Departments of Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Abstract — Historically, persons with paralysis have limited options for overground ambulation. Recently, powered exoskeletons, which are systems that translate the user’s body movements to activate motors that move the lower limbs through a predetermined gait pattern, have become available. As part of an ongoing clinical study (NCT01454570), eight nonambulatory persons with paraplegia were trained to ambulate with a powered exoskeleton. Measurements of oxygen uptake (VO2) and heart rate (HR) were recorded for 6 min each during each maneuver while sitting, standing, and walking. The average value of VO2 during walking (11.2 +/– 1.7 mL/kg/min) was significantly higher than for sitting and standing (3.5 +/– 0.4 and 4.3 +/– 0.9 mL/kg/min, respectively; p < 0.001). The HR response during walking was significantly greater than that of either sitting or standing (118 +/– 21 vs 70 +/– 10 and 81 +/– 12 beats per minute, respectively; p < 0.001). Persons with paraplegia were able to ambulate efficiently using the powered exoskeleton for overground ambulation, providing the potential for functional gain and improved fitness.

Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT01454570; "The ReWalk Exoskeletal Walking System for Persons with Paraplegia (VA_ReWalk)"; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01454570

Key words: 6MWT, ambulatory device, energy expenditure, metabolic, overground walking, oxygen uptake, paraplegia, powered exoskeleton, reciprocating gait orthosis, RGO, spinal cord injury.


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This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Asselin P, Knezevic S, Kornfeld S, Cirnigliaro C, Agranova-Breyter I, Bauman WA, Spungen AM. Heart rate and oxygen demand of powered exoskeleton-assisted walking in persons with paraplegia. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(2):147–58.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2014.02.0060
ResearcherID: Pierre Asselin, MS: D-2814-2015; Irina Agranova-Breyter, PT: D-3122-2015; William A. Bauman, MD: D-2871-2015; Steven Knezevic, MS: D-2821-2015; Christopher Cirnigliaro, MS: D-3708-2015; Stephen Kornfeld, DO: E-1315-2015
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