PARTICIPANTS: Nine men with spinal cord lesions.
INTERVENTION: Six weeks of cycling using a functional electrically stimulated leg cycle ergometer (FES-LCE).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Longitudinal images and simultaneous velocity spectra were measured in the common carotid (CA) and femoral (FA) arteries using quantitative duplex Doppler ultrasound examination. Arterial diameters, peak systolic inflow volumes (PSIVs), mean inflow volumes (MIVs), and a velocity index (VI), representing the peripheral resistance, were obtained at rest. PSIVs and VI were obtained during 3 minutes of hyperemia following 20 minutes of FA occlusion.
RESULTS: Training resulted in significant increases in diameter (p < .01), PSIVs (p < .01), and MIVs (p < .05), and reduced VI (p < .01) of the FA, whereas values in the CA remained unchanged. Postocclusive hyperemic responses were augmented, indicated by significantly higher PSIVs (p <.01) and a trend toward lower VI.
CONCLUSION: Six weeks of FES-LCE training increased the cross-sectional area of large conduit arteries and improved blood flow to the paralyzed legs of individuals with SCI.