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Ventilatory Anaerobic Thresholds of Individuals Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injury Compared With Noninjured Controls

Amonette, William E. PhD, CSCS; Mossberg, Kurt A. PhD, PT

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: September/October 2013 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p E13–E20
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e31826463a1
Original Articles

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the peak aerobic capacities and ventilatory anaerobic thresholds (VAT) of individuals with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to age- and gender-matched controls.

Methods: Nineteen participants that previously suffered a mild to moderate TBI and 19 apparently healthy controls volunteered as subjects. Traumatic brain injury and healthy controls were matched for age and gender and were similar in weight and body mass index. Volunteers performed a maximal graded treadmill test to volitional failure where oxygen consumption (

O2), carbon dioxide production (

CO2, ventilation (

E, and heart rate were measured continuously. From metabolic and ventilatory data, VAT was measured using a previously described method. VAT and peak exercise responses of participants with a TBI were compared with healthy controls.

Results: The

O2, and

CO2 at VAT and peak exercise were lower for TBI compared with healthy controls.

E was also lower for TBI at VAT and peak exercise. Heart rate was lower for TBI at VAT; however, TBI had similar heart rate to healthy controls at peak exercise.

Conclusions: The VAT and peak exercise capacities of participants with a TBI were below the metabolic demands of many routine daily activities. The data suggest that therapeutic interventions for individuals with a TBI should include targeted exercise prescriptions to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences Division, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

Corresponding Author: Kurt A. Mossberg, PhD, PT, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555 (

This work was supported, in part, by the Moody Foundation and NIH grant R01-HD046570 to Dr Mossberg. The authors thank P. Skinkis for technical assistance and Dr James Graham for his assistance with statistical analysis.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins