The effects of upper extremity functional electrically stimulated (FES) exercise training on upper limb function in individuals with tetraplegia
Ptasinski, Jennifer L.
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Functional Electrically Stimulated (FES) ami cycle ergometry is a relatively new technique for exercise in individuals with impairments of the upper limbs. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 12 weeks of FES arm cycle ergometry on upper limb function and cardiovascular fitness in individuals with tetraplegia. F!ve subjects (4M/1F; mean age 43.8 ± 15.4 years) with a spinal cord injury of the cervical spine (C3- C7; ASIA B-D) participated in 12 weeks of3 times per week FES arm cycle ergometry training. Exercise performance measures (time to fatigue, distance to fatigue, work rate) were taken at baseline, 6 weeks, and following 12 weeks of training. Cardiovascular measures (MAP, resting HR, average and peak HR during exercise, cardiovascular efficiency) and self reported upper limb function (as determined by the CUE, sf-QIF, SCI-SET questionnaires) were taken at baseline and following 12 weeks of training. Increases were found in time to fatigue (84.4%), distance to fatigue (111.7%), and work rate (51.3%). These changes were non-significant. There was a significant decrease in MAP (91.1 ± 13.9 vs. 87.7 ± 14.7 mmHg) following 12 weeks ofFES arm cycle ergometry. There was no significant change in resting HR or average and peak HR during exercise. Cardiovascular efficiency showed an increase following the 12 weeks ofFES training (142.9%), which was non-significant. There were no significant changes in the measures of upper limb function and spasticity. Overall, FES arm cycle ergometry is an effective method of cardiovascular exercise for individuals with tetraplegia, as evidenced by a significant decrease in MAP, however it is unclear whether 12 weeks of thrice weekly FES arm cycle ergometry may effectively improve upper limb function in all individuals with a cervical SCI.