ISSN: 2544-4395
Physiotherapy Quarterly
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vol. 31
Original paper

Effects of upper limb ergometer on pulmonary functions among spinal cord injury patients

Somia Ilyas
Iqbal Tariq
Kinza Anwar
Hafsah Arshad
Mehwish Waseem Butt

Faculty of Rehabilitation and Allied Health Sciences, Physical Therapy Department, Riphah College of Rehabilitation and Allied Health Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan
Faculty of Physiotherapy, University of Lahore, Islamabad, Pakistan
Physiother Quart. 2023;31(4):15–20
Online publish date: 2022/06/22
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Spinal cord injury is a serious condition that has a profound impact on pulmonary functions and quality of life. Ergometer training is a form of fitness training that seems to influence cardiorespiratory fitness among young individuals. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of upper limb ergometry on pulmonary functions in thoracic spinal cord injury patients.

A randomised, parallel control trial was conducted by the lottery method. 44 patients (22 in each group), who had upper and lower thoracic spinal injuries, aged 25–45 years and of either sex were included. Patients were randomised into progressive upper limb ergometer training (group A) and conventional therapy (group B), and training was continued for six weeks. Outcomes were measured by using a spirometer for pulmonary function tests, assessed at baseline and each week.

A total of 44 participants were analysed in which the mean age in group A was (35.77 ± 5.58) years and in group B was (32.27 ± 6.85) years. Mann–Whitney U-test was used for intergroup comparison of baseline to end values of (FEV1, PEF and FVC). FEV1 was significantly improved post-intervention (p-value = 0.008). Post-training PEF was significantly improved in both groups (p-value = 0.001). FVC was also significantly improved (p-value = 0.003) at the end of the sixth week.

The current study reports that upper limb ergometry has positive effects on spirometry values, as indicated by the improvements in the FVC, FEV1, and PEF values and pulmonary functions in thoracic spinal cord injury patients.


arm ergometry, forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, peak expiratory flow, forced vital capacity, spinal cord injury, spirometry

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