Energy expenditure of stroke patients during postural control tasks

Gait Posture. 2010 Jul;32(3):321-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.05.016. Epub 2010 Jun 22.


Two common impairments in patients after stroke are loss of balance control and fatigue. We propose that both could be inter-related. The purpose of this study was to investigate the metabolic energy demand for balance control in patients after stroke during upright standing. Ten stroke patients and 12 able-bodied controls performed four 5-min upright standing tasks on a force plate; unperturbed (SU), blindfolded (SUB), on foam surface (SUF) and with feet parallel against each other (SUP). Metabolic energy expenditure, posturography measures and muscle activity (EMG) of lower leg muscles were measured. Patients required on average 125% (33Jkg(-1)s(-1)) more metabolic energy for upright standing under the various conditions than controls. In addition, balance manipulation significantly (p<0.05) affected energy expenditure (21% higher in SUB, 52% in SUF, 40% in SUP compared to SU). Although the increase in energy expenditure was on average twice as high in patients than controls no significant group by condition interaction effect was found. Overall correlations between posturography measures, EMG and energy expenditure (r=0.33-0.60) were significant (p<0.001). We conclude that impaired balance control puts an extra demand on the energy expenditure during motor activities in stroke patients. This should be considered when prescribing interventions aimed at reducing physiological strain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Probability
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Task Performance and Analysis