Upper vs lower extremity arterial function after spinal cord injury

Lee Stoner*, Manning Sabatier, Leslie VanhHiel, Danielle Groves, David Ripley, Gregory Palardy, Kevin McCully

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background/Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine whether arterial diameter, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), and arterial range are affected by spinal cord injury (SCI). We assessed arm (radial) and leg (posterior-tibial) arteries that are comparable in size and function to determine whether (a) arterial function is reduced in individuals with SCI vs nondisabled subjects and (b) decrements to SCI arterial function are greater in the legs vs arms. Participants: Eighteen men with chronic (9.8 ± 6.3 years) SCI (T2 to T11; American Spinal Injury Association A) and 13 nondisabled subjects matched for age (33.1 ± 4.8 vs 29.8 ± 8.2 years old, respectively), height, and weight (BMI = 25.3 ± 5.8 vs 26.6 ± 5.5 kg/m2, respectively). Methods: Radial and posterior tibial artery B-mode ultrasound images were continuously captured to measure resting diameter, occluded diameter, and postischemic diameters. Hierarchical linear modeling accounted for the nested experimental design. Results: Individuals with SCI have lower systemic (arm + leg) FMD than nondisabled subjects (9.3% vs 12.3%, respectively; P = 0.035), primarily because of reduced leg FMD (11.5 ± 3.1% vs 7.0 ± 2.8% for SCI arms vs legs, respectively; P = 0.010). Persons with SCI also had lower arterial range than nondisabled subjects (0.79 vs 1.00 mm, respectively; P = 0.043), primarily because of the legs (0.81 ± 0.09 vs 0.56 ± 0.11 mm for SCI arms vs legs, respectively; P = 0.030). Conclusion: Leg arterial function seems to deteriorate at greater rates compared to the arms for individuals with SCI. Interventions to improve cardiovascular health should include measurements taken in the legs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial function
  • Arterial range
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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