The effect of Sub-maximal exercise-rehabilitation program on cardio-respiratory endurance indexes and oxygen pulse in patients with spastic cerebral palsy

M Izadi, F Nazem, M Hazavehei


Background: Physical or cardio-respiratory fitness are of the best important physiological variables in children with cerebral palsy (CP), but the researches on exercise response of individuals with CP are limited. Our aim was to determine the effect of sub-maximal rehabilitation program (aerobic exercise) on maximal oxygen uptake, oxygen pulse and cardio- respiratory physiological variables of children with moderate to severe spastic cerebral palsy diplegia and compare with able-bodied children.
Methods: In a controlled clinical trial study, 15 children with diplegia spastic cerebral palsy, were recruited on a voluntarily basis (experimental group) and 18 subjects without neurological impairments selected as control group. In CP group, aerobic exercise program performed on the average of exercise intensity (144 beat per minute of heart rate), 3 times a week for 3 months. The time of each exercise session was 20-25 minutes. Dependent variables were measured in before (pretest) and after (post test) of rehabilitation program through Mac Master Protocol on Tantories cycle ergometer in CP group and compared with the control group.
Results: The oxygen pulse (VO2/HR) during ergometery protocol was significantly lower in CP group than normal group (P<0.05). No significant statistical difference in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) was found between groups. The rehabilitation program leads to little increase of this variable in CP group. After sub-maximal exercise in pretest and post test, the heart rate of patient group was greater than control group, and aerobic exercise leads to significant decrease in heart rate in CP patients(P<0.05).
Conclusion: The patients with spastic cerebral palsy, because of high muscle tone, severe spasticity and involuntarily movements have higher energy cost and lower aerobic fitness than normal people. The rehabilitation exercise program can improve physiological function of muscle and cardio-respiratory endurance in these patients.
Key words: Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Rehabilitation, Oxygen Pulse, Cardio-respiratory Endurance

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