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      Single limb exercise induces femoral artery remodeling and improves blood flow in the hemiparetic leg poststroke.

      Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation

      Aged, Blood Flow Velocity, Exercise, Female, Femoral Artery, physiopathology, Humans, Leg, blood supply, Male, Middle Aged, Muscle, Skeletal, ultrasonography, Oxygen Consumption, Paresis, therapy, Stroke, rehabilitation, Ultrasonography, Doppler

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          After stroke, individuals have decreased mobility of the hemiparetic leg, which demands less muscle oxygen consumption; thus, blood flow decreases. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of single limb exercise (SLE) on femoral artery blood flow, diameter, and peak flow velocity in the hemiparetic leg after stroke. Twelve individuals (60.6+/-14.5 years of age; 5 male) with chronic stroke (69.1+/-82.2 months; 5 with right-sided hemiparesis) participated in the study. The intervention consisted of a SLE knee extension/flexion protocol 3 times per week for 4 weeks. Using Doppler ultrasound, bilateral femoral artery blood flow, diameter, and peak flow velocity were assessed at baseline, after 2 weeks, and after 4 weeks of SLE. Using repeated-measures analysis of variance, femoral artery blood flow, arterial diameter, and blood flow velocity in the hemiparetic limb were significantly improved (P<0.0001) after the SLE. No significant changes occurred in the nontrained limb for any outcome measures. These data suggest that a 4-week SLE training program that increases muscular activity in the hemiparetic limb improves femoral artery blood flow, diameter, and peak velocity. SLE may be an important training strategy in stroke rehabilitation to minimize the vascular changes that occur poststroke due to decreased activity of the hemiparetic limb.

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