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Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2010 Jan;23(1):7-10.

Measurement of functional capacity requirements of police officers to aid in development of an occupation-specific cardiac rehabilitation training program.

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  • 1Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital, Dallas, Texas (Adams, Hubbard, McCullough-Shock, Simms, Strauss); The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Plano, Texas (Schneider, Hartman); the Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, Texas (Cheng); and the Police Training Section, Dallas Police Academy, Dallas, Texas (Hinton).


This study was designed to measure the functional capacity of healthy subjects during strenuous simulated police tasks, with the goal of developing occupation-specific training for cardiac rehabilitation of police officers. A calibrated metabolic instrument and an oxygen consumption data collection mask were used to measure the oxygen consumption and heart rates of 30 Dallas Police Academy officers and cadets as they completed an 8-event obstacle course that simulated chasing, subduing, and handcuffing a suspect. Standard target heart rates (85% of age-predicted maximum heart rate, or 0.85 x [220 - age]) and metabolic equivalents (METs) were calculated; a matched-sample t test based on differences between target and achieved heart rate and MET level was used for statistical analysis. Peak heart rates during the obstacle course simulation were significantly higher than the standard target heart rates (those at which treadmill stress tests in physicians' offices are typically stopped) (t(29) = 12.81, P < 0.001) and significantly higher than the suggested maximum of 150 beats/min during cardiac rehabilitation training (t(29) = 17.84, P < 0.001). Peak MET levels during the obstacle course simulation were also significantly higher than the goal level (8 METs) that patients typically achieve in a cardiac rehabilitation program (t(29) = 14.73, P < 0.001). We conclude that police work requires a functional capacity greater than that typically attained in traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs. Rehabilitation professionals should consider performing maximal stress tests and increasing the intensity of cardiac rehabilitation workouts to effectively train police officers who have had a cardiac event.

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