Cardiorespiratory responses to 10 weeks of exoskeleton-assisted overground walking training in chronic nonambulatory patients with spinal cord injury

Jae Hyeon Park, Hyeon Seong Kim, Seong Ho Jang, Dong Jin Hyun, Sang In Park, Juyoung Yoon, Hyunseop Lim, Mi Jung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Exercise intensity of exoskeleton-assisted walking in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) has been reported as moderate. However, the cardiorespiratory responses to long-term exoskeleton-assisted walking have not been sufficiently investigated. We investigated the cardiorespiratory responses to 10 weeks of exoskeleton-assisted walking training in patients with SCI. Chronic nonambulatory patients with SCI were recruited from an outpatient clinic. Walking training with an exoskeleton was conducted three times per week for 10 weeks. Oxygen consumption and heart rate (HR) were measured during a 6-min walking test at pre-, mid-, and post-training. Exercise intensity was determined according to the metabolic equivalent of tasks (METs) for SCI and HR relative to the HR reserve (%HRR). Walking efficiency was calculated as oxygen consumption divided by walking speed. The exercise intensity according to the METs (both peak and average) corresponded to moderate physical activity and did not change after training. The %HRR demonstrated a moderate (peak %HRR) and light (average %HRR) exercise intensity level, and the average %HRR significantly decreased at post-training compared with mid-training (31.6 ± 8.9% to 24.3 ± 7.3%, p = 0.013). Walking efficiency progressively improved after training. Walking with an exoskeleton for 10 weeks may affect the cardiorespiratory system in chronic patients with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5022
JournalSensors
Volume21
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Exoskeleton
  • Heart rate
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Walking

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