Objective To assess the feasibility of a handcycle training program during inpatient rehabilitation and the changes in physical capacity in persons with subacute spinal cord injury (SCI). Design Before-after trial. Setting Rehabilitation centers. Participants Persons with subacute SCI in regular rehabilitation (N=45). Interventions A structured handcycle interval training program during the last 8 weeks of inpatient rehabilitation. Training was scheduled 3 times per week (24 sessions total), with an intended frequency of ≥2 times per week. Intended intensity was a Borg score of 4 to 7 on a 10-point scale. Main Outcome Measures Feasibility was assessed, and participant satisfaction was evaluated (n=30). A maximal handcycling test was performed 8 weeks prior to discharge and at discharge to determine peak power output and peak oxygen uptake (Vo2peak) (n=23). Results Of the participants, 91% completed the handcycle training, and no adverse events were reported. Mean training frequency was 1.8±0.5 times per week, and mean Borg score was 6.2±1.4. Persons with complete lesions demonstrated lower training feasibility. Most participants were satisfied with the handcycle training. Peak power output and Vo2peak improved significantly after the training period (P<.01) by 36.4% and 9.6%, respectively. Conclusions Overall, handcycle training during inpatient rehabilitation in persons with SCI was feasible except for the training frequency. Persons with complete lesions likely need extra attention to benefit optimally from handcycling training. Because the improvements in physical capacity were larger than those known to occur in persons with paraplegia receiving regular rehabilitation, the results suggest that the addition of handcycle training may result in larger increases in physical capacity compared with regular rehabilitation only.

Physical fitness, Rehabilitation, Spinal cord injuries
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2015.05.014, hdl.handle.net/1765/86078
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

Nooijen, C.F.J, Van Den Brand, I.L, ter Horst, P, Wynants, M, Valent, L.J, Stam, H.J, & van den Berg-Emons, H.J.G. (2015). Feasibility of Handcycle Training during Inpatient Rehabilitation in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96(9), 1654–1657. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2015.05.014