Spinal Cord Injury and Sleep Apnea

June 09, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in many individuals. Overweight men are particularly susceptible and much research has been devoted into the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. A new research project proposes to investigate sleep apnea and its pathogenic factors in those living with spinal cord injury.

The paper published in the NIH – U.S. National Library of Medicine comes out of the Hospitaux de Paris, France. You can read the article Overnight Upper Airway Infiltration in Spinal Cord Injury (OUI-SCI) here or a brief summary of the conclusions here.

Spinal cord injury is a common injury in slip and falls and car accidents,swimming accidents, and workplace accidents. SCI Canada estimates that over 4,500 Canadians suffer spinal cord injury annually. Many of those who suffer spinal cord injury face reduced employment opportunities in the future and increased medical costs for life.

Sleep Apnea is associated with periods of non-breathing through out the night which can result in hypoxia, heart problems, high blood pressure, falling asleep behind the wheel, exhaustion and marital problems. The long term impacts of sleep apnea are serious and the diagnosis and treatment are covered by provincial or private medical plans in Ontario.

For those with spinal cord injury the researchers have determined that the nightly fluid shift from legs into the upper airway may be a cause of sleep apnea.

Individuals living with spinal cord injury are at increased risk for OSA, with a prevalence that is three- to fourfold higher than the general population. Individual with acute tetraplegia and undiagnosed or untreated OSA may participate less in rehabilitation due to sleepiness and fatigue and therefore be less engaged in activities that improve quality of life and maintain functioning over time. Intermittent hypoxia, sleep fragmentation and alterations of the autonomous nervous system induced by OSA are thought to delay or limit recovery and in the long term, increase cardio- and cerebrovascular morbi-mortality.

The researchers will examine the amount of ‘leg fluid’, neck circumference, neck volume, and they will be asked to complete a short questionnaire.

The results of the study may help in the treatment and prevention of sleep apnea in patients with spinal cord injury.

If you or a loved one sustains a spinal cord injury due to someone else's negligence please be sure to contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law today.


Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Car Accidents, Fractures, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Spinal Cord Injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us at 1-519-742-7774.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

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