Cardiovascular changes associated with skeletal muscle spasm in tetraplegic man

J Physiol. 1971 Jun;215(2):381-93. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1971.sp009475.


1. A study has been made of the effect of spontaneous and induced muscle spasms on blood pressure, heart rate, hand blood flow, calf blood flow and occluded vein pressure in the hand and foot in non-bedridden patients with chronic, closed, complete, localized transection of the cervical spinal cord.2. Both types of spasm produced a similar response consisting of an increase in blood pressure and occluded vein pressure and a decrease in heart rate and hand and calf blood flow. The changes commenced within 2-3 sec and usually reached maxima in 20-30 sec. On some occasions there was a temporary initial increase in heart rate and calf blood flow.3. The changes occurred independently of changes in bladder pressure.4. It is concluded that the changes in peripheral blood vessels result from a spinal sympathetic reflex to somatic afferents associated with muscular contraction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Hand / blood supply*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Neck
  • Neurons, Afferent
  • Plethysmography
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*
  • Reflex
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Spasm / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology
  • Venous Pressure