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West C.R.,International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries ICORD BSCC | Alyahya A.,King Saud University | Laher I.,University of British Columbia | Krassioukov A.,International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries ICORD BSCC | And 2 more authors.
Spinal Cord | Year: 2013

Background:During the past 20 years, significant advances in patient care have resulted in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) living longer than before. As lifespan increases, cardiovascular complications are emerging as the leading cause of mortality in this population, and individuals with SCI develop cardiovascular disease at younger ages than their able-bodied counterparts. To address this increasing clinical challenge, several recent studies investigated the central cardiovascular adaptations that occur following SCI. However, a somewhat less recognized component of cardiovascular dysfunction in this population is the peripheral vascular adaptations that also occur as a result of SCI.Study design:Literature review.Objective:To present a comprehensive overview of changes in arterial structure and function, which occur after SCI.Setting:Canada.Methods:A systematic literature review was conducted to extract studies that incorporated measures of arterial structure or function after SCI in animals or humans.Results:Individuals with SCI exhibit vascular dysfunction below the lesion that is characterized by a reduction in conduit artery diameter and blood flow, increased shear rate and leg vascular resistance, and adrenoceptor hyper-responsiveness. There is also recent alarming evidence for central arterial stiffening in individuals with SCI.Conclusion:Although physical deconditioning is the primary candidate responsible for the maladaptive remodeling of the peripheral vasculature after SCI, there is emerging evidence that blood pressure oscillations, such as those occurring in the large majority of individuals with SCI, also exacerbates vascular dysfunction in this population. © 2013 International Spinal Cord Society All rights reserved.

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