What is included in the clinical assessment of pulmonary function in acute spinal cord injury (SCI)?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Answer

The clinical assessment of pulmonary function in acute spinal cord injury begins with careful history taking regarding respiratory symptoms and a review of underlying cardiopulmonary comorbidity such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure.

Carefully evaluate respiratory rate, chest wall expansion, abdominal wall movement, cough, and chest wall and/or pulmonary injuries. Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis and pulse oximetry are especially useful, because the bedside diagnosis of hypoxia or carbon dioxide retention may be difficult.


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