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Eccentric cycling ergometer to address skeletal muscle dysfunction in hospitalised patients: ergometer design, construction and demonstration
  1. Mathew Doyle1,2,
  2. Marc Brown1,
  3. Lucy Kemp1,
  4. Peter McLennan1,
  5. Gregory Peoples1
  1. 1 University of Wollongong Faculty of Science Medicine and Health, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Cardiothoracic Surgery, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mathew Doyle, University of Wollongong Faculty of Science Medicine and Health, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia; mpd06{at}


Purpose Continuous eccentric cycling has demonstrated metabolic efficiency when compared with equivalent concentric workloads. The profile of continuous eccentric cycling is well suited to hospitalised patients, however, its application has been restricted to outpatient settings as ergometers appropriate for the acute setting are currently unavailable. The aim of this study was to construct an eccentric cycle ergometer specifically for use in an acute care hospital ward and demonstrate its performance in healthy subjects.

Methods An eccentric cycle ergometer (asynchronous 125 W motor) was constructed with strain gauge technology (SRM PowerMetre) to allow instantaneous biofeedback to the user. Ten healthy participants (20–64 years) were used to test the capacity of the ergometer to maintain consistent force production (repeated 5 min duration) with appropriate physiology responses (heart rate, minute ventilation, arterial saturation, electromyography and muscle tissue oxygen saturation) for low to moderate eccentric workloads.

Results Eccentric power output was consistently achieved without mechanical or ergonomic issues for two workloads (31.1±5.7 W and 56.6±8.8 W, respectively). Participant heart rate (rest: 68±13 bpm) and minute ventilation (rest: 12.4±3.5 L/min) increased incrementally with workload 1 (HR: 83±16 bpm VE: 21.76±6.5 L.min-1, p<0.001 vs rest) and workload 2 (HR: 94±14 bpm VE: 26.5±8.9 L/min, p<0.001 vs rest) while local muscle oxygen saturation remained unchanged for both workloads.

Conclusion This study describes the successful construction of an eccentric cycle ergometer and demonstrated the efficacy of the ergometer to deliver constant eccentric workloads in healthy adults. Eccentric cycling could be potentially provided to hospitalised patients using this ergometer.

  • assistive technology
  • cardiovascular
  • musculoskeletal
  • physical and rehabilitation medicine
  • rehabillitation

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  • Twitter @drmdoyle, @peoples_greg

  • Contributors MD, LK, MB and GP contributed to study design and application. MD, LK, MB and GP performed study protocol and data collection. MD, GP and PM contributed to manuscript preparation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The study is approved by the University of Wollongong Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.