Prolonged bradycardia, asystole and outcome of high spinal c
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Background
High spinal cord injury (HSCI) is one of the devastating traumatic injuries. 80% of these patients are young male, and 93% will have major neurological disabilities. There is a paucity of literature about prolonged bradycardia in HSCI patients. The aim of this study was to know the prevalence, risk factors, precipitating factors for prolonged bradycardia in the HSCI patients.

Materials and Methods
All patients who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a tertiary hospital, with spinal cord injury above level of dorsal (D4) were enrolled in this study prospectively. Patient's demographic data, mechanism, level and type of spinal injury, associated injuries, injury severity score (ISS), spinal shock, vasopressors used, time of occurrence of bradycardia, treatment for bradycardia, precipitating as well as risk factors and outcome were recorded.

Results
During the study period, a total of 138 patients were admitted to the ICU with HSCI. Majority of patients were male. The most frequently associated injury in these patients was skeletal fractures (38.4%). Most common complication was pneumonia 56 (41%). Forty-five (33%) of the total patients had prolonged bradycardia; 87% of these patients had pneumonia when bradycardia occurred. 53.4% had cardiac asystole. 29 (21%) patients had bradycardia at the time of endotracheal suctioning, whereas 27 (20%) patients developed bradycardia at the time of positioning. Majority of the patients were managed conservatively. Those HSCI patients who developed prolonged bradycardia, their ISS score was statistically higher, ICU and hospital stay was significantly higher compared with those HSCI patient who did not have prolonged bradycardia. Multivariate analysis revealed that hypotension on admission; pneumonia, and tracheostomy were risk factors for the development of prolonged bradycardia in HSCI patients.

Conclusion
Prolonged bradycardia was associated with significantly higher incidence of asystole. Endotracheal suctioning and positioning of HSCI patients were significant provocative factors for prolonged bradycardia; hypotension on admission, pneumonia and tracheostomy were the risk factors for the development of prolonged bradycardia in these patients.

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