FASEB J, Apr 2020

Multiparametric cardiac magnetic resonance imaging of the heart in people with spinal cord injury

Scott Berkeley A., Jan E. Soriano, Ryan E. Rosentreter, Alessandro Satriano, Antoine Dufour, Rebecca Charbonneau, Patricia Feuchter, Sandra Rivest, Rosa Sandonato, Jacqueline Flewitt, Julio Garcia, Christopher West, James White, Aaron Phillips


Cardiovascular disease is the foremost cause of death for individuals with spinal cord injuries and is a patient priority in this population. To reduce cardiovascular disease, health care costs, and address key patient‐centered priorities, we must understand how and why heart health deteriorates after high‐level spinal cord injuries. Using high‐resolution cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and analysis approaches (ie., 4D strain analysis, 4D flow imaging, late gadolinium enhancement), our objective was to evaluate the impact of high‐level spinal cord injury on cardiac structure and function. Cardiac dimensions including chamber wall thickness were reduced in people with cervical spinal cord injury compared to matched controls and fibrosis was more apparent. Furthermore, we observed changes in global markers of strain in the heart including both longitudinal and circumferential strain after spinal cord injury. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging revealed deficits in structure and function of the left ventricle after SCI. The next steps are to establish the risk factors leading to abnormal hearts after spinal cord injury, and develop strategies for prevention and treatment.


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