Maximal Aerobic Testing in Spinal Cord Injury: Considerations from Clinical Experience
Keywords:spinal cord injury, maximal aerobic testing
AbstractIncreasing participation in physical activity is a primary clinical concern in those with spinal cord injury (SCI). The measurement of maximal aerobic capacity in those with spinal cord injury (SCI) is now being used to help predict habitual physical activity levels after SCI, as well as evaluate SCI athletes. As in able-bodied participants, precise execution of the maximal aerobic test is essential in order to obtain valid results. Many special considerations exist when performing a maximal aerobic testing in those with SCI. Most notably this includes using an arm-crank cycle, however further considerations exist such as: frequent evaluation of blood pressure and symptoms of syncope, unreliable heart rate response in those with SCI above the 5th thoracic vertebra, importance of bladder evacuation prior to testing, and the special attention required to decide work rate depending on lesion level and completeness. This review will detail these considerations from the perspective of clinical experience, as well as provide explain the underlying principles.
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