Orthostatic hypotension in the first month following acute spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord. 2008 Jan;46(1):65-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.sc.3102064. Epub 2007 Apr 10.


Study design: Retrospective data analysis.

Objectives: To determine prevalence of orthostatic hypotension (OH) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) during the acute rehabilitation period.

Setting: Quaternary care spinal unit, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada.

Methods: Eighty-nine patients with acute SCI stratified by neurological level (cervical, 55 (62%); upper thoracic, 12 (13%); lower thoracic, 22 (25%)), and graded by American Spinal Injury Association standards. Non-invasive measurement of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were made at baseline and 3 min following an orthostatic challenge test administered during the first month after SCI.

Results: Patients with cervical or upper thoracic motor complete SCI more frequently experienced OH (P<0.01). OH persisted during the first month following SCI in 74% of cervical and only 20% of upper thoracic motor complete SCI patients.

Conclusion: Patients with cervical and upper thoracic motor complete SCI are more likely to experience persistent OH than those with lower level or motor incomplete SCI during the first month of rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / epidemiology*
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / physiopathology
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / epidemiology*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Time Factors