Low cardiovascular fitness is common poststroke. Conventional subacute stroke rehabilitation does not meet Australian National Stroke Guidelines for cardiovascular exercise, particularly in mobility-dependent patients. Walking robotics can potentially achieve recommended cardiovascular exercise with these patients.
The primary aim was to determine whether sustained moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise can be achieved using 3 Lokomat Augmented Performance Feedback activities in mobility-dependent adults with subacute stroke. Secondary aims were to assess if cardiovascular workload was influenced by the activity completed, participants motivation or enjoyment, or changes in Lokomat settings.
Ten patients with subacute stroke (mean (SD) age: 63.4 (13) years) participated in 6x20-minute Lokomat study sessions. Each study session involved a warm-up and 3x5-minute APF activities presented in a random order. Metabolic data were collected using the COSMED-K5. Participants rated their perceived exertion on the BORG CR10 scale and Lokomat settings of body-weight support, guidance force, and speed were recorded.
Moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise was achieved and maintained over the 15 minutes of exercise, objectively demonstrated by a mean (SD) Metabolic Equivalent Task of 3.1 (1.3), and mean (SD) oxygen consumption of 8.0 (3.8) ml/kg/min, estimated as 52% VO2max. This was subjectively confirmed by exertion scores between 3 and 5. The cardiovascular workload was not affected by which activity was completed, participant motivation or enjoyment, or significant progression of Lokomat settings between study sessions.
Mobility-dependent patients with subacute stroke can achieve sustained moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise on the Lokomat when using APF activities.
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Published online: March 31, 2020
Accepted: February 12, 2020
Received in revised form: February 6, 2020
Received: September 9, 2019
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