Mild Intermittent Hypoxia: A Prophylactic for Autonomic Dysfunction in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injuries

Online since 2 January 2024, updated 170 days ago

About this trial

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 (...

Included participants

Gender
All
Age
18 - 60 years
Injury level
Level not specified
  • Severity (AIS)?
  • Time since injury
    All
    Healthy volunteers
    No
    Level not specified

    What’s involved

    Type

    Observational

    Details

    Individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) above the 6th thoracic vertebrae experience severe autonomic dysfunction. These individuals lose the ability to control blood pressure (BP) during a noxious or non-noxious stimulus below the injury (Autonomic Dysreflexia [AD]) and during positional changes (Orthostatic Hypotension [OH]). The loss of descending autonomic control and subsequent loss of BP control are highly prevalent in individuals with SCI. More importantly, many individuals are unaware of the loss of BP control as most individuals remain asymptomatic. These potentially life-threatening oscillations in BP are known to induce further damage; creating a vicious cycle of continued autonomic and cardiovascular dysfunction which explains the increased cardiovascular related mortality. Unfortunately, there is no effect prophylaxis for autonomic dysfunction in these individuals. Furthermore, the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is high in individuals with SCI (tetraplegia can exceed 90%), and there is no current best clinical practice guidelines for treating SDB in individuals with SCI. The primary treatment is with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Unfortunately, treatment adherence remains poor. Moreover, SDB is known to negatively impact autonomic, cardiovascular, and microvascular function in individuals without SCI. In individuals without an SCI, adherence to CPAP has shown to improve microvascular function. Although no direct evidence is available, individuals with SCI have shown to have a reduction in the frequency of AD when adherent to CPAP suggesting the microvasculature may be a pro-active therapeutic target for AD and OH. Both autonomic dysfunction and SDB are negatively impacted by the lack of motor function following SCI resulting in deconditioning, atrophy of the muscles and vessels, insulin resistance, and reduced metabolic rate. It has been suggested higher CPAP pressure during in-home treatment coupled with increased upper airway resistances are primary physiological barriers to CPAP treatment. Therefore, treatment options that directly improve the blood pressure response to sympathetic activation, upper airway function as well as improve microvascular function are imperative for those with a SCI. The overall goal of the present proposal is to investigate if daily exposure to mild intermittent hypoxia (MIH) can ameliorate autonomic dysfunction in persons with SCI as well as improve mitochondrial and microvascular function. The investigators will recruit individuals with SCI, concurrent SDB, and signs of autonomic dysfunction who will be randomly assign to one of two groups. Treatment will be administered for 8 days over a 2-week period. Both groups will be treated with nightly in-home CPAP over the 8 days. Lastly, individuals will be tested before, and after MIH as well as return to the laboratory 4 weeks later to undergo post-MIH autonomic, cardiovascular, and peripheral muscle function tests. Participants will return 4-weeks later to investigate if there is a sustained impact of therapeutic MIH on autonomic function and SDB. The dissemination of these outcomes could transform the approach to treating autonomic dysfunction and SDB in individuals with SCI. Therefore, this project will determine if MIH combined with CPAP can be used as prophylaxis for autonomic dysfunction in participants with SCI and autonomic dysfunction.

    Potential benefits

    Good to know: Potential benefits are defined as outcomes that are being measured during and/or after the trial.

    Wings for Life supports SCITrialsFinder

    Wings for Life has proudly initiated, led and funded the new version of the SCI Trials Finder website. Wings for Life aims to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. The not-for-profit foundation funds world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe.

    Learn more

    • Trial recruitment status
    • Recruiting
    • Trial start date
    • 1 Oct 2022
    • Organisation
    • VA Office of Research and Development
    • Trial recruitment status
    • Recruiting
    • Trial start date
    • 1 Oct 2022
    • Organisation
    • VA Office of Research and Development

    Wings for Life supports SCITrialsFinder

    Wings for Life has proudly initiated, led and funded the new version of the SCI Trials Finder website. Wings for Life aims to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. The not-for-profit foundation funds world-class scientific research and clinical trials around the globe.

    Learn more