Study: Blood Loss with SCI Leads to Poorer Outcomes

A new study conducted on rats says hypovolemia – a significant loss in blood volume – combined with spinal cord injury caused poorer outcomes post injury.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was recently published in the journal Spinal Cord.

Researchers subjected 20 rats to identical spinal cord injuries via surgery and contusion, then additionally drained blood from half of the rats to create a 20-percent lower blood volume. The rats were otherwise given identical care before and after surgery.

The loss of blood in half the rats was done to simulate the hemorrhaging that sometimes occurs after a spinal cord injury.

The rats were tested one, three, seven and 14 days after their procedures, specifically to determine how long they could maintain their positions on an inclined plane set at different angles. Rats that had gone through both spinal cord injury and hypovolemia afterward did not perform as well as rats did not have blood drained after injury. Rats that did not suffer hypovolemia also performed better in motor skills testing. Prior to the procedures, the rats had all performed similarly on the tests.

Researchers believe the poorer results in the hypovolemic group were caused by reduction of the oxygen supply in the injured area, which led to further damage to nerve cells versus cases of spinal cord injury without loss of blood volume.

To read the report, click HERE.

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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