This study investigated cardiorespiratory responses and muscle oxygenation during prolonged electrical stimulation (ES)-evoked leg cycling in individuals with paraplegia (PARA). Four PARA and 6 able-bodied (AB) persons participated in this study. Subjects performed 10 min of passive cycling and 40 min of active cycling (PARA, ES cycling; AB, voluntary cycling) at workloads selected to elicit an equivalent oxygen uptake between groups. Cycling power output, cardiorespiratory responses, mechanical efficiency, and quadriceps muscle oxygenation (measured with near-infrared spectroscopy) were measured over the duration of the exercise. Oxygen uptake was similar in both groups during active cycling (PARA, 737 ± 177 mL·min-1; AB, 840 ± 90 mL·min-1). The cycling power output for PARA individuals commenced at 8.8 W, but varied considerably over 40 min. PARA individuals demonstrated markedly lower gross mechanical efficiency (∼1.3%) during ES cycling compared with AB individuals performing voluntary exercise (∼12.6%). During ES cycling, muscle oxygen saturation (SO2) decreased to approximately 72 ± 19%, whereas SO2 during volitional cycling was unaltered from resting levels. Muscle oxygenated haemoglobin initially decreased (-23%) during ES cycling, but returned to resting levels after 10 min. Deoxygenated haemoglobin initially rose during the first 5 min of ES cycling, and remained elevated by 28% thereafter. Upon cessation of ES cycling, lower-limb muscle oxygenation increased (+93%), suggesting reactive hyperaemia in PARA individuals after such exercise. During ES cycling, muscle oxygenation followed a different pattern to that observed in AB individuals performing voluntary cycling at an equivalent V)2. Equilibrium between oxygen demand and oxygen delivery was reached during prolonged ES cycling, despite the lack of neural adjustments of leg vasculature in the paralyzed lower limbs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Physiology (medical)