Managing Blood Pressure in Upright Position

Many SCI do not achieving functional independence early after SCI as they suffer from orthostatic hypotension (OH), a rapid decrease in blood pressure upon changing from supine to upright position, experienced, as incapacitating dizziness (among others).

Dynamic Functional Electrical Stimulation (DFES), passive legs motions synchronized with electrical stimulation of legs’ muscles, during upright stance has proven to prevent immediate OH from occurring in individuals with long lasting SCI. The proposed study intends to examine how DFES can be used in early
rehabilitation to prevent OH from occurring and by doing so enable the SCI patients to participate in intensive rehabilitation program immediately following the injury.

Two groups of patients each will undergo 4 weeks of orthostatic tolerance training with tilt-table, either with DFES (new intervention with Erigo and Compex devices) or without DFES (control group receiving current best practice). Patients will be evaluated just before, just after, and 1 month after interventions to assess
evolution of OH symptoms and physical abilities in each group. They will also be monitored for cardiovascular tolerance during the intervention.