Early Systemic Alterations in Severe Spinal Cord Injury: An Experimental Study on the Impact of Injury Level on Renal Function

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Abstract

Study Design.

An experimental model of spinal cord injury (SCI) intended to characterize changes in renal function.

Objective.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible influence of SCI level on renal function during spinal shock.

Summary of Background Data.

SCI triggers multiple systemic and metabolic alterations. Among them, renal dysfunction stands out. Although several variables have been related to its extent, the impact of the cord injury level on renal function has not been clearly stated, particularly during the spinal shock.

Methods.

Anesthetized adult Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to severe spinal cord contusion at low (T8) and high (T1) thoracic levels using the weight-drop method. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and tubular secretion (TS) were estimated 24 hours after injury, using a validated method based on the determination of plasma concentrations of iopamidol and p-aminohippuric acid by high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results.

GFR, fell to 33% (95% CI [24%, 43%]) and 10% (8%, 13%) of the sham-injured controls, whereas TS, decreased to 59% (95% CI [47%, 71%]), and 25% (18%, 32%) of the sham-injured controls, in T8 and T1 injury levels, respectively. Comparisons between cords injured and control rats, as well as between low and high-injured levels, were statistically significant (P < 0.01).

Conclusion.

Renal dysfunction occurs early after severe SCI. The damage is greater in high compared to low injuries. These findings could have important implications in the acute management of patients with high thoracic and cervical injuries, especially in pharmacotherapy using drugs eliminated by the kidney.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence. N/A

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