Spinal cord injury (SCI) can disrupt the body's sensitive signaling mechanisms that control blood pressure, breathing, and oxygen delivery to the heart and other organs during changes in body position. Cardiovascular (CV) disease is a leading cause of illness and death following SCI, and changes in baroreflex sensitivity-the body's ability to detect and respond to changes in blood pressure-may be predictive of a CV event. A comprehensive review article on baroreflex sensitivity after SCI is published in Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Neurotrauma website at http://www.liebertpub.com/neu.
Aaron Phillips, Andrei Krassioukov, Philip Ainslie, and Darren Warburton, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, detail the current techniques available to measure baroreflex function, describe the mechanisms and role of normal baroreflex function, and summarize the body of literature on baroreflex function after SCI. In the article "Baroreflex Function after Spinal Cord Injury," the authors propose potential mechanisms to explain the baroreflex dysfunction that can occur following SCI and they recommend directions for future research studies.
"In addition to altering motor function, spinal cord injury can produce a range of serious complications including cardiovascular dysfunction and other quality of life issues," says Journal of Neurotrauma Deputy Editor W. Dalton Dietrich III, PhD, Scientific Director, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery, Professor of Neurological Surgery, Neurology and Cell Biology at University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Lois Pope LIFE Center. "This informative review article by an expert panel of researchers provides new information regarding mechanisms underlying autonomic dysfunction in people living with SCI. More attention and research are needed to develop and test new treatments targeting the causes of baroreflex dysfunction after SCI that can improve cardiovascular function in these individuals."