Original research| Volume 102, ISSUE 8, P1490-1498, August 2021

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Reductions in Cardiac Structure and Function 24 Months After Spinal Cord Injury: A Cross-Sectional Study

Published:February 05, 2021DOI:



      To determine the alterations in cardiac structure and function that occur in the months after spinal cord injury (SCI).

      Study Design



      Rehabilitation Hospital


      Volunteers (N=29; 4 women, 25 men) between 3 and 24 months after SCI.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Transthoracic echocardiography was performed on each volunteer. The relationships between time since injury and neurologic and sensory levels of injury to cardiac structure and function were assessed via multiple linear regression.


      Time since injury was most strongly associated with reductions in left ventricular end diastolic volume (r2=0.156; P=.034), end systolic volume (r2=0.141; P=.045), and mass (r2=0.138; P=.047). These structural changes were paralleled by reduced stroke volume (r2=0.143; P=.043) and cardiac output (r2=0.317; P=<.001). The reductions in left ventricular structure and systolic function were not differentially affected by neurologic or sensory levels of injury (P=.084-.921).


      These results suggest progressive reductions in left ventricular structure and systolic function between 3 and 24 months after SCI that occur independent of neurologic and sensory levels of injury.


      List of abbreviations:

      2D (2-dimensional), LV (left ventricle), LVEDV (volume of the left ventricle during diastole), LVESV (volume of the left ventricle during systole), LVM (LV mass), SCI (spinal cord injury)
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