1. Dramiga, Stacey MA
  2. Young-McCaughan, Stacey RN, PhD
  3. Arzola, Sonya M. MS

Article Content

Background: The Ebbeling protocol is a single-stage submaximal treadmill walking protocol used to predict maximal oxygen consumption (Vo2max). The goal of the warm-up phase, 2 to 4 minutes, is to find a comfortable speed between 2 and 4.5 mph at a 0% grade that elicits a heart rate within 50% to 70% of the participant's age predicted maximal heart rate (APMHR) to begin the test. The goal of the exercise phase is to complete 4 minutes of treadmill walking at the speed determined during the warm-up phase plus a 5% grade. Because this protocol was validated in a group of apparently healthy adults, we did not know if patients with cancer could tolerate the protocol. Recently 2 studies have been published using the Ebbeling protocol to predict Vo2max in patients with cancer, neither of which described subjects' ability to tolerate the protocol.


Purpose: To describe the tolerability of the Ebbeling protocol in a sample of cancer patients.


Methods: Secondary data analysis of baseline treadmill data of 115 people being collected as part of a quasi-experimental study that assessed physiological and psychological effects of participation in an exercise program following treatment for cancer.


Results: Regardless of heart rate, a total of 34 participants could not walk comfortably at a required minimum speed of 2 mph (scenarios 1, 2, and 3). Six participants did not reach a required minimum of 50% of their APMHR while walking comfortably within the required speed range (scenario 4). Another 10 participants had heart rates that exceeded 70% of their APMHR while walking comfortably within the required speed range (scenario 6). Only 65 (57%) participants met the speed and APMHR percentage requirements for the warm-up phase (scenario 5) to start the exercise phase of the protocol.


Conclusion: This analysis indicates that 43% (n = 50) of this sample of cancer patients could not tolerate the Ebbeling protocol. The Ebbeling protocol may not be appropriate to use for certain cancer patients.

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