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Cardiovascular and urological dysfunction in spinal cord injury

OBJECTIVE: A spinal cord injury (SCI) above the sixth thoracic vertebra interrupts the supraspinal control of the sympathetic nervous system causing an imbalance between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. This article focuses on the symptoms, treatment and examination of autonomic disturbances of the cardiovascular and the urinary system after a SCI. METHODS: A non-systematic literature search in the PubMed database. RESULTS: Frequent complications in the acute phase of cervical and high thoracic SCI are bradyarrhythmias, hypotension, hypothermia/hyperthermia, increased neurogenic shock, vagovagal reflex, supraventricular/ventricular ectopic beats, vasodilatation and congestion. Serious complications in the chronic phase of SCI are orthostatic hypotension, impaired cardiovascular reflexes, autonomic dysreflexia (AD), reduced sensation of cardiac pain, loss of reflex cardiac acceleration, quadriplegic cardiac atrophy due to loss of left ventricular mass and pseudo-myocardial infarction. AD is associated with a sudden, uncontrolled sympathetic response, triggered by stimuli below the injury. It may cause mild symptoms like skin rash or slight headache, but also severe hypertension, cerebral haemorrhage and death. Early recognition and prompt treatment are important. Urinary autonomic dysfunctions include hyperreflexia or areflexia of detrusor and/or sphincter of the bladder. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with SCI have a high risk of cardiovascular complications, AD and urinary autonomic dysfunction both in the acute phase and later, affecting their prognosis and quality of life. Knowledge of cardiovascular and urological complications after SCI is important for proper diagnosis and treatment

Keywords : Acceleration,Atrophy,Autonomic Nervous System Diseases,Cardiovascular Diseases,complications,diagnosis,etiology,Headache,Heart,Humans,Hypertension,Hypotension,Infarction,injuries,methods,Nervous System,Norway,Pain,Patients,physiopathology,Prognosis,Quality of Life,Reflex,Risk,Sensation,Skin,Spinal Cord,Spinal Cord Injuries,Sympathetic Nervous System,Thoracic Vertebrae,Universities,Urologic Diseases,, Urological,Dysfunction,Spinal, laser therapy london

Date of Publication : 2011

Authors : Hagen EM;Faerestrand S;Hoff JM;Rekand T;Gronning M;

Organisation : Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway Department of Heart Disease, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. ellen.merete.hagen@helse-bergen.no

Journal of Publication : Acta Neurol Scand Suppl

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21711260

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