Development of an exercise testing protocol for patients with a lower limb amputation: results of a pilot study

MM Vestering, T Schoppen*, R Dekker, J Wempe, JHB Geertzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Due to a decrease in physical activity, lower limb amputees experience a decline in physical fitness. This causes problems in walking with a prosthesis because energy expenditure in walking with a prosthesis is much higher than in walking with two sound legs. Exercise training may therefore increase the functional walking ability of these patients. To generate a safe and effective aerobic training program, exercise testing of amputees is recommended. The objectives of this study were to develop a maximal exercise testing protocol for lower limb amputees and to compare two different testing methods: combined arm-leg ergometry and arm ergometry. The protocols were tested in five amputee patients. Combined ergometry elicited a higher oxygen uptake and heart rate than arm ergometry. Electrocardiography during combined ergometry was easier to read. Combined ergometry was judged most comfortable by the amputees. The exercise testing protocol was useful in lower limb amputees to determine their maximal aerobic capacity and their main exercise limitation. Future exercise training programs may be based on this testing protocol. Combined arm-leg ergometry is appropriate for unilateral amputees without significant claudication of the remaining leg. Continuous arm ergometry is suitable for unilateral amputees with significant claudication of the remaining limb or bilateral amputees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2005


  • arm ergometer
  • combined arm-leg ergometer
  • exercise testing
  • lower limb amputees

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