Pulmonary Function

Both respiratory function and the ability to assess it in children with paralysis related to SCD are fraught with difficulties related to age and development and the neurologic deficit (Beydon et al. 2007; Frei et al. 2005; Singh et al. 2018). SCD-related paralysis results in restrictive and sometimes obstructive respiratory dysfunction patterns, depending on injury level (Randelman et al. 2021). Because respiratory complications are an important source of morbidity and mortality in individuals with SCI (Randelman et al. 2021), being able to assess the residual respiratory function pattern becomes an important goal in long-term management in this population.

The review of the literature pertaining to the subject reveals few and limited scope papers. Most of them are retrospective case series/reports, with Vogel and colleagues’ (2002b) study utilizing survey design being the exception. Their analysis reveals an eclectic collection of findings:

  1. Methods of respiratory insufficiency management are varied (pressure/volume control ventilation)
  2. Weaning off the ventilator is dependent on the residual neurologic function and good pulmonary hygiene management
  3. Respiratory complications in children with SCI-related paralysis are frequent, just like in the adult population