Introduction: Exercise tests are a valuable tool for assessing exercise capacity. However, a treadmill test for persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and visual impairments (multiple disabilities) is not yet available. Objective: The present project investigated primarily the feasibility, validity and test-retest reliability of a graded treadmill exercise test (GXT) for people with Gross Motor Function Classification System level I (GMFCS I) and multiple disabilities. Method: Participants (N=30) performed a graded exercise test and retest. A supra maximal block test (SMBT) was administered to assess validity. Results: The participants’ mean age was 41 years (SD 11 yrs). Feasibility was sufficient for the test (GXT1) and retest (GXT2) of the GXT (86.6%). For the SMBT feasibility was less than sufficient (76.9%). Correlation of the peak heart rate (HRpeak) between the GXT1 and GXT2 was good and significant (ICC=0.95; 95%CI 0.88-0.98) with good agreement (t-statistic p=0.5). The levels of the GXT1 and GXT2 attained had a significant correlation (ICC=0.95; 95%CI 0.90-0.98). This indicates good test-retest reliability. Correlation between HRpeak GXT and HRpeak SMBT was good (ICC=0.94; 95%CI 0.86-0.98) with good agreement (t-statistic p=0.7). Validity of GXT was good. As a secondary result, correlations and agreements between HRpeak found and HRpeak calculated were poor (using the Fernhall equation). Conclusions: A GXT performed on a treadmill is a feasible, reliable and valid means of determining HRpeak for people with multiple disabilities. At the individual level, results may have fairly large variability. Intellectual functioning or visual deficit did not influence the results. The equation for calculating HRpeak for people with multiple disabilities systematically overestimated HRpea
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