Background: Exercise options for those with moderate to high levels of disability are limited. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of a progressive, four week lower limb cycling programme using active-passive trainers (APT's) on spasticity, cardiovascular fitness, function and quality of life in people with moderate to severe MS. Methods: Participants were in-patients in the Physical Disability Rehabilitation Unit, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, UK and randomised to APT + usual care or usual care only. The APT group received 30 min of APT (2 min passive warm up, 26 min active cycling, 2 min passive cool down), five days per week for 4 weeks. Outcome measures; Oxygen Uptake Efficiency Slope, Modified Ashworth Scale, Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity Scale, Functional Independence Measure, Timed 25 foot walk test and the MSQOL-54, were taken before and after the intervention period. Symmetry, distance cycled and active participation were also recorded for each cycling session. Results: 24 participants were recruited, 15 to the intervention and 9 to the control group. There was a 100% adherence to the intervention and a significant increase in average speed, power output and distance cycled (p <0.001 for each) over the four weeks. There were no adverse events and both groups improved in average scores for all outcome measures. Conclusions: APT cycling was well tolerated, while the cycling parameters improved it was difficult to separate the effects of the therapy programme and APT cycling. A longer duration, fully powered trial in a community setting is merited.
- active-passive trainers