Wednesday 29 November 2023
Salisbury Foundation Trust

Paradoxical Breathing in Spinal Cord Injury

Above is an animated video aimed at healthcare professionals explaining the mechanism of paradoxical breathing in the spinal shock phase immediately following cervical spinal cord injury. It is a sign that is relatively rare as the incidence of cervical SCI is relatively low, and it only lasts a short time in patients who experience it. However, the consequences can be profound for the patient and so increased awareness of this sign among healthcare professionals could improve outcomes.


For further reading and information:

RISCI (Respiratory Information in Spinal Cord Injury) is formed of multidisciplinary interested parties working within Spinal Cord Injury Centres in the UK and Ireland.


Berlowitz DJ, Wadsworth B, Ross J. Respiratory problems and management in people with spinal cord injury. Breathe 2016;12:328-340

Denton M, McKinlay J. Cervical cord injury and critical care. Continuing Education in Anaesthesia 2009; 9:82-86

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