The prevalence of autonomic dysfunction and sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is increased in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The loss of autonomic control results in autonomic dysreflexia (AD) and orthostatic hypotension (OH) which explains the increase in cardiovascular related mortality in these Veterans. There is no effective prophylaxis for autonomic dysfunction. The lack of prophylactic treatment for autonomic dysfunction, and no best clinical practices for SDB in SCI, are significant health concerns for Veterans with SCI. Therefore, we will investigate the effectiveness of mild intermittent hypoxia (MIH) as a prophylactic for autonomic dysfunction in patients with SCI. We propose that MIH targets several mechanisms associated with autonomic control and the co-morbidities associated with SDB. Specifically, exposure to MIH will promote restoration of homeostatic BP control, which would be beneficial to participation in daily activities and independence in those with SCI.
There are several positions open within the project from data collection, analysis, and clinical coordinator. Willingness to learn new tests and skills for data acquisition and good communication are required.