Measurement of exercise tolerance on the treadmill in patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis: A useful indicator of functional status and surgical outcome

H. G. Deen, R. S. Zimmerman, M. K. Lyons, M. C. McPhee, J. L. Verheijde, S. M. Lemens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

A prospective study of patients with neurogenic claudication and lumbar spinal stenosis was undertaken to determine whether measurement of exercise tolerance on the treadmill would be useful in defining baseline functional status and response to surgical treatment. Twenty patients with an average age of 73 years, all of whom had intractable neurogenic claudication and radiographically confirmed severe lumbar spinal stenosis, were studied. Lumbar decompressive laminectomy was performed in all patients. Preoperatively and 2 months postoperatively, quantitative assessment of ambulation was conducted on a treadmill at 0° ramp incline at two different speeds: 1.2 mph and the patient's preferred walking speed. The following information was recorded: time to first symptoms, time to severe symptoms, and nature of symptoms (leg pain, back pain, or generalized fatigue). The examination was stopped after 15 minutes or at the onset of severe symptoms. In the preoperative 1.2-mph trial, the mean time to first symptoms was 2.68 minutes (median 1.31) and the mean time to severe symptoms was 5.47 minutes (median 3.42). In the postoperative trial at the same speed, 13 patients (65%) were able to walk symptom free for 15 minutes. The mean time to first symptoms was 11.12 minutes (median 15) and the mean time to severe symptoms was 11.81 minutes (median 15). Similar findings were recorded in the preferred walking-speed trials. There were no complications from the treadmill testing procedure. These findings indicate that exercise stress testing on a treadmill is a safe, easily administered, and quantifiable means of assessing baseline functional status and outcome following laminectomy in patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Keywords

  • decompressive lumbar laminectomy
  • exercise stress testing
  • lumbar spinal stenosis
  • neurogenic claudication
  • treadmill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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