Evaluation of exercise capacity after severe stroke using robotics-assisted treadmill exercise: A proof-of-concept study

O. Stoller*, E. D. de Bruin, M. Schindelholz, C. Schuster, R. A. de Bie, K. J. Hunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Robotics-assisted treadmill exercise (RATE) with focus on motor recovery has become popular in early post-stroke rehabilitation but low endurance for exercise is highly prevalent in these individuals. This study aimed to develop an exercise testing method using robotics-assisted treadmill exercise to evaluate aerobic capacity after severe stroke. METHODS: Constant load testing (CLT) based on body weight support (BWS) control, and incremental exercise testing (JET) based on guidance force (GF) control were implemented during RATE. Analyses focussed on step change, step response kinetics, and peak performance parameters of oxygen uptake. RESULTS: Three subjects with severe motor impairment 16-23 days post-stroke were included. CLT yielded reasonable step change values in oxygen uptake, whereas response kinetics of oxygen uptake showed low goodness of fit. Peak performance parameters were not obtained during JET. CONCLUSION: Exercise testing in post-stroke individuals with severe motor impairments using a BWS control strategy for CLT is deemed feasible and safe. Our approach yielded reasonable results regarding cardiovascular performance parameters. IET based on GF control does not provoke peak cardiovascular performance due to uncoordinated walking patterns. GF control needs further development to optimally demand active participation during RATE. The findings warrant further research regarding the evaluation of exercise capacity after severe stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
JournalTechnology and Health Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Stroke
  • exercise testing
  • severe motor impairment
  • aerobic capacity
  • robotics-assisted treadmill exercise


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