Which determinants of pulmonary function may be impaired in 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 degree of respiratory dysfunction is ultimately dependent on preexisting pulmonary comorbidity, the level of the spinal cord injury, and any associated chest wall or lung injury. Any or all of the following determinants of pulmonary function may be impaired in the setting of spinal cord injury:

  • Loss of ventilatory muscle function from denervation and/or associated chest wall injury

  • Lung injury, such as pneumothorax, hemothorax, or pulmonary contusion

  • Decreased central ventilatory drive that is associated with head injury or exogenous effects of alcohol and drugs


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