Nina Lefeber recently published a new paper!
Physiological responses and perceived exertion during robot-assisted treadmill walking in nonambulatory stroke survivors.
Nina Lefeber, Emma De Keersmaecker, Stieven Henderix, Marc Michielsen, Federica Tamburella, Nevio Luigi Tagliamonte, Marco Molinari, Bas de Geus, Eric Kerckhofs & Eva Swinnen.
Purpose: To examine physiological responses and perceived exertion during robot-assisted treadmill walking in non-ambulatory stroke survivors; compare these outcomes with aerobic exercise recommendations; and investigate the effect of robotic assistance. Materials and methods: Twelve non-ambulatory stroke survivors (67 ± 11 years-old, 84 ± 38 d poststroke) participated. Subjects walked three times 20 min (1 session/day) in the Lokomat: once with conventional exercise parameters, once with 60% robotic assistance and once with 100% robotic assistance. Gas exchange and heart rate were monitored continuously. Perceived exertion was assessed every 3 min during walking. Results: During conventional robot-assisted treadmill walking, net perceived exertion (0–14 scale) significantly increased between minute 6 (median ¼ 2, interquartile range ¼ 4) and 18 (median ¼ 5, interquartile range ¼ 4). Net physiological responses did not significantly change over time. Throughout exercise, percentage of predicted heart rate reserve was significantly below the 40% threshold (medians: 11–14%) and percentage of predicted maximum heart rate reached the 55% threshold (medians: 59–60%). Perceived exertion reached the 11-point threshold halfway. Net physiological responses and perceived exertion did not significantly differ between 60% and 100% robotic assistance. Conclusions: The assistance level that non-ambulatory stroke survivors require at their highest tolerable walking speed seems too high to sufficiently stress the cardiorespiratory system during robot-assisted treadmill walking.
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