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Phys Ther. 2012 Feb;92(2):329-38. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20110125. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

Feasibility and validity of a graded one-legged cycle exercise test to determine peak aerobic capacity in older people with a lower-limb amputation.

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Research Institute MOVE, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Information concerning exercise tolerance and aerobic capacity is imperative for generating effective and safe exercise programs. However, for older people with a lower-limb amputation, a standard exercise test is not available.


The primary aim of the present study was to determine whether a graded 1-legged peak exercise test is feasible and provides a valid assessment of peak aerobic capacity in older people walking with a lower-limb prosthesis.


This was a quasi-experimental case-control study.


A total of 36 older people with a lower-limb prosthesis and 21 people who were able-bodied (controls) (overall mean age=61.7 years, SD=6.1) performed a discontinuous graded 1-legged exercise test. The peak respiratory exchange ratio was used as an indicator of maximal effort. The controls performed an additional 2-legged exercise test to provide insight into differences between the testing modes.


All participants were able to perform the exercise test. Electrocardiographic tracings and blood pressure were adequately monitored. The controls and the people with a lower-limb amputation were able to stress the cardiovascular system to a similar extent. Analyses of construct validity revealed that the peak aerobic capacity measured with the 1-legged exercise test was able to distinguish between participants on the basis of age, body mass index, and sex to a similar extent as the conventional 2-legged exercise test.


The results can be generalized only to people who are able to ambulate with their prosthesis.


The graded 1-legged exercise test was feasible and provided a valid assessment of peak aerobic capacity and exercise tolerance in older people walking with a lower-limb prosthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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