AA

Introduction

The muscle groups required for respiration include the diaphragm, intercostals, abdominal muscles, and accessory muscles. Spinal cord injury (SCI) that occurs in the cervical or thoracic region can affect the nerves that innervate these muscles and, as a result, impair respiration. With an injury above C3, paralysis of these muscles requires lifetime ventilation for survival. Individuals with incomplete or lower level injuries are not as compromised, but can still experience weakness or spasticity in these muscles that reduce respiratory flow rates and lung volumes (Galeiras Vázquez et al. 2013). Complications associated with respiration are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in SCI patients; developing rigorous management and prophylactic protocols are key to improving patient outcomes (Berney et al. 2011).