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New paper!

  • December 12, 2019

Nina Lefeber recently published a new paper! 

Robot-Assisted Overground Walking: physiological responses and perceived exertion in nonambulatory stroke survivors. 

By Nina Lefeber, Emma De Keersmaecker, Marc Troch, Christophe Lafosse, Bas de Geus, Eric Kerckhofs, and Eva Swinnen. 


ABSTRACT: Robot-assisted overground walking (RAOW) may facilitate walking aerobic exercise in nonambulatory stroke survivors. The aims of this study were to investigate the physiological responses and perceived exertion during RAOW in persons with stroke and to compare the exercise intensity to aerobic exercise guidelines for stroke survivors. Ten nonambulatory stroke survivors (50% male, median age of 72 years old, and median time poststroke of 40 days)walked 20 minutes overground wearing a lower limb exoskeleton (Ekso GT) with full bilateral assistance. Breath-by-breath gas exchange and heart rate were monitored continuously. The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) on a 6–20 scale was assessed at the end of rest and every 5 min during walking. Net values were obtained by subtracting gross values from resting values. The net heart rate and net RPE significantly increased between minute 5 [median: 8 beats/min; interquartile range (IQR): 10 beats/min; median: 2; IQR: 5] and minute 20 (median: 17 beats/min; IQR: 17 beats/min; median: 6; IQR: 5). Other net physiological responses did not significantly change over time. The percentage of predicted maximum heart rate and gross RPE, respectively, reached the minimum threshold at minute 5 (median: 60%; IQR: 15%) and minute 10 (median: 11; IQR: 6). The percentage of predicted heart rate reserve (HRR) was significantly below the 40% threshold at minute 5 (median: 14%; IQR: 9%) and minute 10 (median: 18%; IQR: 10%). Fully assisted RAOW seems to be a rather low-intensity exercise for nonambulatory subacute stroke survivors, but it may be used as an aerobic exercise modality.

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