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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Richard A. Rutt, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Mary K. Farrell, MS, PT, NCS


Background and purpose. Body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) is becoming an increasingly popular therapeutic intervention for various disorders. It is important to mow the level of exertion the person is experiencing during1the intervention to prevent cardiovascular events. Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is currently used in clinics to measure exertion by patient report, but there are no studies showing the correlation between RPE and heart rate (HR) or RPE and oxygen consumption (V02) during BWSTT.

Methods. Twenty-two healthy subjects performed four, four-minute trials of BWSTT at 0%, 15%, 30%, and 45% unweighting at a self-selected speed · walking pace. Heart rate, oxygen consumption, and RPE were recorded at each level of unweighting.

Results. As hypothesized, statistically significant reductions in HR, RPE, and oxygen consumption were noted across the four unweighting conditions. Correlation values for HR and RPE ranged from -0.21 to 0.188 across the unweighting conditions. Corerelation values for V02 and RPE ranged from -0.186 to 0.400 across the unweighting conditions.

Discussion and Conclusion. RPE is not an accurate tool to measure exertion during BWSTT in healthy subjects. Further studies are needed to examine the relationship in subjects with various pathologies.


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