Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: Pulmonary Physiologic Principles and Management

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In the United States, approximately 17,500 cases of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) occur each year, with an estimated 245,000 to 345,000 individuals living with chronic SCI. Acute management of respiratory dysfunction has resulted in improvement in early survival, but life expectancy remains less than that of the general population, and pulmonary complications are a leading cause of mortality. The global changes in pulmonary function, underlying pathophysiology, and the management options to improve respiratory muscle weakness and pulmonary clearance in persons with SCI are discussed. Given its high prevalence among subjects with cervical SCI, sleep disordered breathing is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-425
Number of pages15
JournalClinics in Chest Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Airway dynamics
  • Pulmonary function
  • Respiratory muscle strength
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Restrictive airway dysfunction
  • Sleep apnea
  • Spinal cord injury


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