The purpose of this study was to determine the effect lower body positive pressure (LBPP) has on the cardiovascular/exercise capacities of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) during both arm crank exercise (ACE) and wheelchair exercise performed on a treadmill (WCTM). Ten male adults (age = 31.1 +/- 10 yr) with SCI and five male nondisabled (ND) adults (31.2 +/- 10 yr) participated in this study. The ND subjects performed ACE only. For subjects with SCI, significantly higher (P < 0.025) peak VO2 (1042 +/- 212 vs 839 +/- 218 ml-min-1), peak VE (46 +/- 17 vs 35 +/- 9 1-min-1); and work rate (50 +/- 15 vs 40 +/- 13 W) were seen during ACE with LBPP. No significant differences for peak VO2, VE, or work rate were seen for the ND subjects with LBPP during ACE. In addition, significantly higher peak VO2 (960 +/- 322 vs 828 +/- 312 ml-min-1) was recorded with LBPP for the subjects with SCI during WCTM. Cardiac output (Q, l-min-1 CO2 rebreathing method) was measured at 50% peak VO2 during ACE for both ND subjects and subjects with SCI during ACE. Subjects with SCI demonstrated significantly higher SV (94 +/- 20 vs 84 +/- 20 ml) with LBPP. No differences were observed in SV at 50% peak VO2 during ACE for the ND subjects with LBPP. The results of this study suggest that for individuals with SCI, LBPP augments exercise capacity by preventing the redistribution of blood to the lower extremities.
(C)1994The American College of Sports Medicine