Abstract

Objectives. The Baltimore Therapeutic Equipment (BTE) work simulator is routinely used by occupational therapists in functional capacity evaluation. Currently, there is a lack of normative data for various attachments on this instrument. The purposes of this study were to (a) establish norms for the biomechanical and physiological responses during three tasks on the BTE work simulator, namely, wheel-turn, push-pull, and overhead-reach; (b) compare these responses during the three tasks, and (c) examine the interrelationships of these responses during the tasks.

Method. Twenty healthy men completed five testing sessions: (a) task familiarization on the BTE work simulator to identify the work intensity, which was perceived as hard on the Borg scale; (b) an incremental arm ergometer exercise test to determine their peak oxygen uptake (pV̇O2) and peak heart rate (pHR), and (c) one of the three tasks on the BTE work simulator for 4 min in each of the next three sessions.

Results. Analysis of variance indicated that torque, work, and power during the overhead-reach were significantly higher (p = .000) compared with the wheel-turn and push-pull tasks. However, no significant differences (p > .05) were observed among the tasks for the V̇O2 and HR, which were approximately 50% and 70% of pV̇O2 and pHR respectively. Although there was a significant relationship (p < .05) among tasks for the torque, work, and power, the common variance ranged only between 38% and 67%. The relative pV̇O2 was significantly related to work (p = .028) and power (p = .027) only during the push-pull task but not the wheel-turn and overhead-reach tasks.

Conclusions. These results suggest that occupational therapists should include as many tasks as possible when designing functional capacity evaluation test batteries, and that there is no consistent relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and performance of various tasks on the BTE work simulator.

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