Arterial structure and function in physically active persons with spinal cord injury

Sae Young Jae, Kevin S Heffernan, Miyoung Lee, Bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that physically active people with spinal cord injury do not have increased subclinical atherosclerosis compared with an age-matched able-bodied group. Methods: Subjects comprised 28 wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injury (mean age 22 (standard deviation (SD) 3) years) and 24 recreationally active aged-matched able-bodied control participants (mean age 23 (SD 3) years). Intima media thickness, arterial compliance and β stiffness of the common carotid artery were measured using B-mode ultrasound. Aortic augmentation index was derived from applanation tonometry of the radial artery. Results: Carotid mean intima media thickness in persons with spinal cord injury did not differ from that of controls (0.46, SD 0.07 vs 0.44, SD 0.06, p=0.94). Carotid artery β stiffness in persons with spinal cord injury also did not differ from that of controls (4.92, SD 1.6 vs 5.70, SD 1.6, p=0.08). The augmentation index did not differ between groups (4.0% [-3.8-12.3] vs 4.5 %, [-8.0-12.0] of median and interquartile range, p = 0.78). Conclusion: Participation in regular exercise may preserve arterial function in individuals with spinal cord injury when compared with aged-matched able-bodied participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-538
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Arterial stiffness
  • Augmentation index
  • Carotid intima media thickness
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this