This study evaluated the feasibility, safety, and findings from a protocol for exercise-bicycle ergometry in subacute-stroke survivors. Of 117 eligible candidates, 14 could not perform the test and 3 discontinued because of cardiac safety criteria. In the 100 completed tests, peak heart rate was 116 ± 19.1 beats/min; peak VO2 was 11.4 ± 3.7 ml · kg · min−1, peak METs were 3.3 ± 0.91, exercise duration was 5.1 ± 2.84 min., and Borg score was 14 ± 2.6. Among 71 tests, anaerobic threshold was achieved in 3.0 ± 1.7 min with a VO2 of 8.6 ± 1.7 ml · kg · min−1. After screening, this protocol is feasible and safe in subacute-stroke survivors with mild to moderate deficits. These stroke survivors have severely limited functional exercise capacity. Research and clinical practice in stroke rehabilitation should incorporate more comprehensive evaluation and treatment of endurance limitations.
Yates is in private practice in Yorktown, VA. Gollub and Whitman are with the Dept. of Cardiology, and Perera and Lai, the Dept. of Preventive Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS. Studenski is with the VA Pittsburgh GRECC, 3520 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Duncan is with the Dept. of Health Services Administration, University of Florida.