Content » Vol 40, Issue 7

Original report

Arterial structure and function in physically active persons with spinal cord injury

Sae Young Jae, Kevin S Heffernan , Miyoung Lee, Bo Fernhall
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0212


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that physically active people with spinal cord injury do not have increased subclinical atherosclerosis compared with an age-matched able-bodied group.
Methods: Subjects comprised 28 wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injury (mean age 22 (standard deviation (SD) 3) years) and 24 recreationally active aged-matched able-bodied control participants (mean age 23 (SD 3) years). Intima media thickness, arterial compliance and β stiffness of the common carotid artery were measured using B-mode ultrasound. Aortic augmentation index was derived from applanation tonometry of the radial artery.
Results: Carotid mean intima media thickness in persons with spinal cord injury did not differ from that of controls (0. 46, SD 0. 07 vs 0. 44, SD 0. 06, p=0. 94). Carotid artery β stiffness in persons with spinal cord injury also did not differ from that of controls (4. 92, SD 1. 6 vs 5. 70, SD 1. 6, p=0. 08). The augmentation index did not differ between groups (4. 0% [–3. 8–12. 3] vs 4. 5 %, [–8. 0–12. 0] of median and interquartile range, p=0. 78).
Conclusion: Participation in regular exercise may preserve arterial function in individuals with spinal cord injury when compared with aged-matched able-bodied participants.

Lay Abstract


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