Reliability of isokinetic strength and aerobic power testing for patients with chronic heart failure

Steve E Selig, Michael F Carey, David G Menzies, Jeremy Patterson, Ralph H Geerling, Andrew D Williams, Voramont Bamroongsuk, Deidre Toia, Henry Krum, David L Hare
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 2002, 22 (4): 282-9

PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to assess the reliability of testing skeletal muscle strength and peak aerobic power in a clinical population of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).

METHODS: Thirty-three patients with CHF (New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Class 2.3 +/- 0.5; left ventricular ejection fraction 27% +/- 7%; age 65 +/- 9 years; 28:5 male-female ratio) underwent two identical series of tests (T1 and T2), 1 week apart, for strength and endurance of the muscle groups responsible for knee extension/flexion and elbow extension/flexion. The patients also underwent two graded exercise tests on a bicycle ergometer to measure peak oxygen consumption (VO(2peak)). Three months later, 18 of the patients underwent a third test (T3) for each of the measures. Means were compared using MANOVA with repeated measures for strength and endurance, and ANOVA with repeated measures for VO(2peak).

RESULTS: Combining data for all four movement patterns, the expression of strength increased from T1 to T2 by 12% +/- 25% (P <.001; intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.89). Correspondingly, endurance increased by 13% +/- 23% (P =.004; ICC = 0.87). Peak oxygen consumption was not significantly different (16.2 +/- 0.8 and 16.1 +/- 0.8 for T1 and T2, respectively; P =.686; ICC = 0.91). There were no significant differences between T2 and T3 for strength (2% +/- 17%; P =.736; ICC = 0.92) or muscle endurance (-1% +/- 15%; P =.812; ICC = 0.96), but VO(2peak) decreased from 16.7 +/- 1.2 to 14.9 +/- 0.9 (-10% +/- 18%; P =.021; ICC = 0.89).

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that in a population of patients with CHF, a familiarization trial for skeletal muscle strength testing is necessary. Although familiarization is not required for assessing oxygen consumption as a single measurement, VO(2peak) declined markedly in the 3-month period for which these patients were followed. Internal consistency within patients was high for the second and third strength trials and the first and second tests of VO(2peak).

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