Ann Rehabil Med.  2013 Oct;37(5):619-627. 10.5535/arm.2013.37.5.619.

The Effects of Assisted Ergometer Training With a Functional Electrical Stimulation on Exercise Capacity and Functional Ability in Subacute Stroke Patients

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju National University College of Medicine, Jeju, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurology, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju National University College of Medicine, Jeju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea.


To determine if assistive ergometer training can improve the functional ability and aerobic capacity of subacute stroke patients and if functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the paretic leg during ergometer cycling has additional effects.
Sixteen subacute stroke patents were randomly assigned to the FES group (n=8) or the control group (n=8). All patients underwent assistive ergometer training for 30 minutes (five times per week for 4 weeks). The electrical stimulation group received FES of the paretic lower limb muscles during assistive ergometer training. The six-minute walk test (6MWT), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and the Korean version of Modified Barthel Index (K-MBI) were evaluated at the beginning and end of treatment. Peak oxygen consumption (Vo2peak), metabolic equivalent (MET), resting and maximal heart rate, resting and maximal blood pressure, maximal rate pressure product, submaximal rate pressure product, submaximal rate of perceived exertion, exercise duration, respiratory exchange ratio, and estimated anaerobic threshold (AT) were determined with the exercise tolerance test before and after treatment.
At 4 weeks after treatment, the FES assistive ergometer training group showed significant improvements in 6MWT (p=0.01), BBS (p=0.01), K-MBI (p=0.01), Vo(2peak) (p=0.02), MET (p=0.02), and estimated AT (p=0.02). The control group showed improvements in only BBS (p=0.01) and K-MBI (p=0.02). However, there was no significant difference in exercise capacity and functional ability between the two groups.
This study demonstrated that ergometer training for 4 weeks improved the functional ability of subacute stroke patients. In addition, aerobic capacity was improved after assisted ergometer training with a FES only.


Electrical stimulation; Ergometry; Bicycling; Stroke; Oxygen consumption

MeSH Terms

Anaerobic Threshold
Blood Pressure
Electric Stimulation*
Exercise Tolerance
Heart Rate
Lower Extremity
Metabolic Equivalent
Oxygen Consumption


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