Published online Sep 26, 2022. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i27.9680
Peer-review started: April 6, 2022
First decision: June 16, 2022
Revised: July 14, 2022
Accepted: August 15, 2022
Article in press: August 15, 2022
Published online: September 26, 2022
While a clear correlation has been established between spinal cord injury and cardiovascular disorders, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Heart rate variability (HRV) and pulse-wave velocity (PWV), indicators of cardiac function, are altered in patients with spinal cord injury, implicating autonomic cardiac function and arterial stiffness in this mechanism.
While studies have independently assessed HRV or PWV in patients with spinal cord injury, simultaneous assessment to gain a broader view of their cardiovascular condition has not been reported.
The study objective is to elucidate the mechanism underlying cardiovascular complications in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients
Short-term HRV and PWV parameters were compared between patients with and without spinal cord injury. All assessments were made using the Medicore HRV Analyzer SA-3000P, which measures HRV time and frequency domain parameters and uses acceleration plethysmography to measure PWV.
Factors that differed significantly between participants with and without spinal cord injury included the standard deviation of all normal-to-normal intervals, square root of the mean sum of squared successive RR interval differences, physical stress index, total power, very-low frequency, low frequency, high frequency, and arterial elasticity.
Patients with spinal cord injury have weaker sympathetic and parasympathetic activity as well as lower arterial elasticity compared to those without, suggesting that SCI may increase cardiac function loading.
Further investigation is needed using multi-center, cohort-matched studies with continuous assessment of HRV and PWV. This non-invasive assessment could be integrated into care programs for SCI patients as an indicator of the need for measures to reduce stress and increase vitality.