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June 1972

Experimental Spinal Cord Injury: Electrocardiographic Abnormalities and Fuchsinophilic Myocardial Degeneration

Author Affiliations

Richmond, Va
From the divisions of neurological surgery and cardiology and the Department of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia, Health Sciences Division, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. Dr. Greenhoot is now with the University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, Calif.

Arch Neurol. 1972;26(6):524-529. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490120064007

Alterations of the electrocardiogram, blood pressure, and myocardial histological findings were produced in dogs subjected to cervical spinal cord injury. Enhanced sympathetic discharge is the primary event, occurring within seconds of injury, and is manifested by hypertension and tachycardia. Parasympathetic effects occur secondarily and are revealed by a variety of cardiac arrhythmias. Fuchsinophilic degeneration of myocardial cells is seen in spinal cord injured animals. This lesion is similar to that produced by experimental brain stimulation and seen clinically with intracranial hemorrhage. Clinical observations and these studies emphasize the need for early evaluation of the cardiovascular status in acute spinal cord injuries.

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