Pulmonary function in spinal cord injury: A clinical and spirometric study

Demirel G., Demirel S., Yilmaz H., Kesiktas N., Akkaya V.

JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGIC REHABILITATION, vol.11, no.3, pp.159-168, 1997 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/154596839701100304
  • Page Numbers: pp.159-168


Pulmonary complications are a major causes of morbidity and mortality for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). The degree of respiratory impairment resulting from SCI is dependent on the level of injury sustained. The aim of this study was to assess pulmonary function of the SCI patients with spirometry and relate the clinical complaints to vital capacity (VC). We also correlated other pulmonary function test parameters with VC. Thirty-five subjects, aged 34.5 to 15.2 years, participated in the study. Eleven patients (31.4 percent) were tetraplegic, and 24 patients (68.6 percent) were paraplegic. Paraplegic and tetraplegic groups were compared. No significant difference in the prevalance of cough, wheezing, chest pain, or sputum production was found. Dyspnea was more common in tetraplegics (p < 0.05). Chest expansion was greater in paraplegics without reaching statististical significance. Spirometric tests revealed that VC, forced vital capacity (FVC), inspiratory capacity (IC), inspiratory reserve volume (IRV), and expiratory reserve volume (ERV) were significantly smaller in the tetraplegics. Statistical relationships were determined between VC and other tests. VC was found to be significantly correlated with each of the other pulmonary function tests. VC measurements show a significant correlation with other pulmonary function measurements, but clinical complaints of patients do not appear to be related to VC.