Determinants of lung volumes in chronic spinal cord injury.

Stepp EL, Brown R, Tun CG, Gagnon DR, Jain NB, Garshick E.

Determinants of lung volumes in 330 white males with chronic spinal cord injuries (SCI) were sought using questionnaire outcomes and spirometry measurements. When adjusted for SCI severity and stature, greater body mass index (BMI) was associated significantly with lower total lung capacity (TLC), functional residual capacity (FRC), residual volume (RV), and expiratory reserve volume (ERV). The effect of BMI on RV was most pronounced in quadriplegia. Lifetime smoking was associated with a greater FRC and RV. Time since injury, independent of age, was associated with a decrease in TLC, FRC, ERV, and RV. Age was not a predictor of TLC once time since injury was considered.

The authors conclude that determinants of FRC, TLC, ERV, and RV in chronic SCI include factors related and unrelated to SCI. By addressing modifiable factors such as obesity, muscle stiffness, and smoking, respiratory morbidity and mortality in SCI may be reduced by improving pulmonary function.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2008; 89: 1499-506

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