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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2018 December;54(6):837-44

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.04987-0

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of postural control in the association between aerobic capacity and walking capacity in chronic stroke: a cross-sectional analysis

Jacqueline C. OUTERMANS 1 , Ingrid van de PORT 2, Gert KWAKKEL 3, Johanna M. VISSER-MEILY 4, 5, Harriet WITTINK 1

1 Faculty of Health Care, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2 Revant Rehabilitation Center, Breda, The Netherlands; 3 Department of Rehabilitation, VU University Medical Center, MOVE Research Institute, Amsterdam Neuroscience Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 4 Rudolf Magnus Brain Center, Department of Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy Science, and Sports, Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 5 De Hoogstraat Rehabilitation, Utrecht, The Netherlands



BACKGROUND: Reports on the association between aerobic capacity and walking capacity in people after stroke show disparate results.
AIM: The aim of this study was to determine: 1) if the predictive validity of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) for walking capacity post stroke is different from that of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and 2) if postural control, hemiplegic lower extremity muscle strength, age and gender distort the association between aerobic capacity and walking capacity.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: General community in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
POPULATION: Community-dwelling people more than three months after stroke.
METHODS: Measurement of aerobic capacity were performed with cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and differentiated between the achievement of VO2peak or VO2max. Measurement of walking capacity with the 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), postural control with the Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA) and hemiplegic lower extremity muscle strength with the Motricity Index (MI-LE).
RESULTS: Fifty-one out of 62 eligible participants, aged 64.7±12.5 years were included. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) showed a nonsignificant difference between the predictive validities of VO2max (N.=22, β=0.56; 95% CI: 0.12-0.97) and VO2peak (N.=29, β=0.72; 95% CI: 0.38-0.92). Multiple regression analysis of the pooled sample showed a significant decrease in the β value of VO2peak (21.6%) for the 6MWT when adding the POMA as a covariate in the association model. VO2peak remained significantly related to 6MWT after correcting for the POMA (β=0.56, 95% CI: 0.39-0.75).
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest similar predictive validity of aerobic capacity for walking capacity in participants achieving VO2max compared to those only achieving VO2peak. Postural control confounds the association between aerobic capacity and walking capacity. Aerobic capacity remains a valid predictor of walking capacity.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Aerobic capacity is an important factor associated with walking capacity after stroke. However, to understand this relationship, postural control needs to be measured. Both aerobic capacity and postural control may need to be addressed during interventions aiming to improve walking capacity after stroke.


KEY WORDS: Stroke - Walking - Exercise tolerance - Exercise test - Postural balance

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