Effect of Body Weight-Supported Treadmill Training on Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Function in People With Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review.

Research paper by Ramzi R Alajam, Abdulfattah S AS Alqahtani, Wen W Liu

Indexed on: 19 Dec '19Published on: 18 Dec '19Published in: Topics in spinal cord injury rehabilitation


To assess the current evidence with regard to the effects of body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) on cardiovascular and pulmonary function in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) with a focus on outcomes of heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and respiratory parameters. A systematic literature search was conducted through MEDLINE/PubMed, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database. Clinical trials involving adults with SCI and focusing on the effects of BWSTT on HR, BP, and respiratory measurements were included. The quality of included studies was assessed using the Downs and Black scale. The level of evidence of each study was identified using the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence system. Nine studies that met inclusion criteria were evaluated and included in this review. Overall, the quality index of all included studies was low. All studies scored less than 21 out of 28 on the Downs and Black scale. The level of evidence varied from level 2 to level 4. Level 4 evidence supports the use of BWSTT to decrease resting and exercise HR and improve heart rate variability. The use of BWSTT to improve respiratory parameters after SCI is supported by one study with level 2 evidence. The evidence that supports the use of BWSTT to improve resting BP is inconclusive. There has been low to moderate evidence to support the use of BWSTT in individuals with SCI to improve cardiovascular and pulmonary health. Future randomized controlled trials are needed to investigate the effect of BWSTT on cardiovascular and pulmonary function in people with SCI and compare BWSTT to other physical rehabilitation interventions. © 2019 Thomas Land Publishers, Inc.