Pneumonia rates low in study of patients with spinal cord injury
Dyson-Hudson presents 1- year findings at international meeting
Prevention of respiratory complications, the major cause of death in people with spinal cord injury, is the focus of an ongoing research study. Because poor cough reflex contributes to the high rate of complications, researchers are comparing two methods of promoting cough inpatients with tetraplegia and paraplegia. Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, interim director of SCI Research at Kessler Foundation, presented preliminary findings at the ASIA-ISCoS scientific conference held in June in Washington DC.
At one year, there were three reported episodes of pneumonia related to medical complications and no cases of community-acquired pneumonia, an incidence much lower than expected. Investigators also found that training in assistive cough techniques may improve cough effectiveness and pulmonary function over time. Dyson-Hudson noted that all participants were required to receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, which may be a contributing factor in the study's low incidence pneumonia.
This study is being conducted by the Northern New Jersey SCI Model System (NNJSCIMS), a collaborative program of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). NNJSCIMS is one of 14 model systems nationwide. Co-investigators are Amanda Botticello, PhD, research scientist at Kessler Foundation, Steven Kirshblum, MD, medical director of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and John Bach, MD of UMDNJ.