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  • Silly question about SCI

    I did think about which of the (many) rooms to post this in....but hey. Here is my silly question. It's silly because I have a T3 incomplete SCI, so you'd think I would already know the answer....

    We all know that in order to kill an animal you simply break its neck. By this, I would imagine you would need to give that animal a complete injury. I suppose the animal dies through lack of oxygenated blood to the brain, as a result of the lungs and heart not receiving the messages they need to carry on.

    So, is it possible to have a complete "C" SCI and survive? If you do have a complete SCI, how does the heart and lungs get their messages to carry on?

    I can only assume that all C level injuries are incomplete. Whereas "T" leve injuries can be Complete or Incomplete???

    Does this explain why there is a 52% to 48% split in favor of C versus T injuries? It would seem there should be more C injuries, since the neck is "easy" to break (it sticks out more and has smaller bones). Is the reason the % is lower simply due to there are plenty of dead C injuries that are not included in that 52/48 split???

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I'm a C2/3 injury, 24 years post. I don't have any control of the diaphragm and therefore can't breathe on my own. Therefore, I, like Chris Reeve, rely on a ventilator, or similar device, for breathing 24/7.

    Heart connection is a little higher, I believe from the brain stem or just lower, but someone else will need to correct me on that. There are a number of C1/2 injuries around that, like me, also require breathing assistance, but obviously have a heart beat.

    Confirmed via Wikipedia, the heart, or vegas nerve, does come from the brain stem.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagus_nerve
    Last edited by trainman; 11-09-2009, 07:59 PM. Reason: Add link
    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

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    • #3
      It's totally possible to have a complete cervical injury and survive.

      The heart and lungs, as well as other autonomic functions, are regulated in the brain stem, so unless the brain stem itself is damaged, those functions should continue.

      Cervical SCI at the C2-C3 level affects the respiratory muscles -- the brain stem still tries to regulate breathing, but the muscles necessary to breathe in and out don't get the message. Hence the folks with that level of injury (like our own Trainman) need a vent to compensate for the paralyzed respiratory muscles.

      Does that help?

      ETA: Trainman, how cool that you were posting at the same time I was mentioning you in my post. The Force is with us...
      It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

      ~Julius Caesar

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      • #4
        Hi Kool interesting question
        I am a incomp-lete Quad C 1- C7 had surgeries on
        Thinking about this I think for about 3 to 10 mins a animal will possibbly live like a human does time wise .
        From my personal experience C level injuies are super tough much rougher than T level ones
        This is just my opinion and observation ! I feel people who suffer C level injuries whether complete or incomplete suffer much more bouts of severe depression and many un categorized health problems Thus leading them more susecpitable to losing hopes or will to live .

        To kill a animal yes you would have to completely break it's neck
        Depending on the level of the Neck Breakage and the animals will it is probable but not plausible to assume it will Die 100 % I notice jerking spasms after shooting a deer in its neck years back . It bothered me initially but the shot was definitely well aimed and penetrated .

        Jerking spasms may look like there is life but the possibilities are just not happening as any organism without air and positive neurons flowing to make the lungs / diapram work eventually strop life eventually dies Brain activity is gone yet the body jerks it could be misleading . Same happens to humans Neurotransmiiters firing away yet the head or neck is gone .
        I just gave my opinion

        Sincerely ;
        Gypsylady

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        • #5
          Thanks all of you...and BIG respect to the trainman for coping with a your SCI. Goodness me.

          I have not previously heard of the "brain stem". From your posts this is how the autonomous functions operate. It seems very similar to the spinal column. Is it not the same thing? (clearly not).

          I can see the need for a diagram soon.....

          I understand what thehipcrip explains about the heart and the lungs, both being autonomous, but the lungs require the spinal column, the heart needs just he brain stem.

          As for uncontrolled spasms. I shot a deer, perfect shot, dropped where he stood. His legs shook for a few moments, and they seemed all the world like my legs shake first thing in the morning. I was happy he didnt suffer too much.

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          • #6
            With the higher cervical injuries the critical issue is often how fast emergency personnel get to the injury site to start artificial respiration.

            But I'm curious too, why do some people die instantly of a broken neck and others don't?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Scaper1 View Post
              With the higher cervical injuries the critical issue is often how fast emergency personnel get to the injury site to start artificial respiration.

              But I'm curious too, why do some people die instantly of a broken neck and others don't?

              Yes. On the films its a swift twist of the neck followed by instant death. What actually happened?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gypsylady View Post
                Hi Kool interesting question
                I am a incomp-lete Quad C 1- C7 had surgeries on
                Thinking about this I think for about 3 to 10 mins a animal will possibbly live like a human does time wise .
                From my personal experience C level injuies are super tough much rougher than T level ones
                This is just my opinion and observation ! I feel people who suffer C level injuries whether complete or incomplete suffer much more bouts of severe depression and many un categorized health problems Thus leading them more susecpitable to losing hopes or will to live .
                I strongly disagree with this. As a c5,6,7 complete quad, I am the longest post injury survivor in these Forums, and of my SCI friends, the quads are hanging around longest. Several are 40+. My observation among SCIs is that those with a stable marriage are the longest survivors. They fare better than singles with regard to health. Regarding health, during the period 1970-2000, I accumulated a total of 6 sick days at work. I have not had a UTI since 1970 and am a cancer survivor (2000). My long surviving quad friends have similar health records. However, my sample does not include ventilator cases. That kicks the health issue up a couple notches. The depression issue is most highly associated with pain, rather than injury level. I, as is the case with most SCIs, have had serious cases of situational depression which is gone when things improve. For the folks with chronic pain that cannot be treated effectively, life is usually hell.
                You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
                http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

                See my personal webpage @
                http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  When the neck gets broken on an animal like that, it typically tears away some major blood vessels going to the brain which causes instant death. Unless someone tries to rip your head off, I don't think that really happens. I'm a complete injury and my spinal cord has autonomic function to keep my heart going. If I need more oxygen, my spinal cord controls that on its own. You lose diaphragm control up around C2 but the heart is autonomic.
                  C-5/6, 7-9-2000
                  Scottsdale, AZ

                  Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

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                  • #10
                    Also, I'm sure the high C's do have a higher fatality percentage than SCI's in total, or the T's and below.. There's not always somebody nearby to do CPR if you have an accident that paralyzes your diaphragm...
                    Blog:
                    Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?

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                    • #11
                      When you hear that someone was injured in an accident, had a "broken neck" and died at the scene (or was hung, which often results in a C1-2 fracture), there are two main causes of death. The first is respiratory failure since the diaphragm (the main breathing muscle) is innervated at C3-5. If the injury is at or above C3, and severe, usually respiratory arrest is immediate due to damage to that part of the cord or to the phrenic nerve itself. People like Christopher Reeve would not survive their accident if someone at the scene did not do immediate artificial respiration for them. People with somewhat lower cervical injuries (C4-C8) often can breathe OK on the scene, but due to respiratory fatigue (breathing with just the diaphragm which is often too weak) may end up on a vent temporarily after 1-2 days.

                      The second reason, which can occur in really severe injuries, is disruption of both the vertebral arteries. You have two which run through the entire cervical spinal (see diagram) and which join together at the base of the skull to form the basilar artery. This artery is the major blood supply to the brainstem and hind brain, and if cut off entirely, death usually occurs due to anoxia to these parts of the brain very quickly. These areas of the brain also control breathing and regulation of blood pressure.


                      If you wring the neck of a bird or other animal, or someone is decapitated you have a combination of both occuring to cause "instant" death.

                      The autonomic nervous system regulates heart beat and the smooth muscle of the lungs. This includes the parasympathetic nervous system, which innervates these structures (as well as the gut) through the vagus nerve, which is a cranial nerve that does not travel through the spinal cord. This maintains heart beat and digestion in spite of a spinal cord injury, even a very high one. The sympathetic nerves which also go to these structures do travel down from the brain through the spinal cord and exit in the cervical and thoracic cord. The parasympathetic nervous system (vagus) will slow the heart and increase digestion unless opposed by the sympathetic nerves (which speads up heart rate and slow digestion as well as constrict peripheral arteries to elevate blood pressure). This is the reason that most people with an acute traumatic cervical SCI will have bradycardia (a slow pulse), and low blood pressure (hypotension) for at least a few days to weeks after injury.

                      (KLD)
                      Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 11-09-2009, 11:00 PM.
                      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MarkB701 View Post
                        I have not previously heard of the "brain stem". From your posts this is how the autonomous functions operate. It seems very similar to the spinal column. Is it not the same thing? (clearly not).
                        Here are the major divisions of the central nervous system. Note the brainstem is actually the extension of the spinal cord immediately at the top of the spinal cord as it enters the skull. The higher centers of the brain (cerebrum) "wrap" around the brainstem, which is the most primitive part of the brain.



                        Here is a schematic diagram of the autonomic nervous system. The medulla oblongata is part of the brainstem. Note that the vagus nerve emerges from there.


                        (KLD)
                        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have to agree with SCI for 55 years that there is absolutely NO correlation between injury level and depression. Other factors such as pain, finances, family support, the correct mobility devices and so on all come into play to create a better, fuller life, but the actual level of injury is immaterial. The one friend I had years ago that committed suicide was a low para, and many of us remember Clayton, who from the outside, seemed to have everything going for him in terms of brains, family, and arm function, none of which mattered enough to him. After 43 years it is pain that is my biggest problem, not depression, or whatever depression I may have is directly related to pain, not to my quadness.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks KLD...! I am considerably more knowledgable having read your posts. It's not cool to be uninformed when I am so closely affected by all this.


                            As for risk factors tending towards depression......well, I am very fortunate not to suffer the main ones; no pain, T3, incomplete, financially secure, steady job, happy marriage, good health, happy parents and siblings. Basically, (apart from the SCI) I really lucked out. I am using the good times now to make sure that I am mentally prepared for potentially losing some, or all, of those positive factors at some point in the future....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hiyaz
                              Some may disagree but this is part of our chat type post blog thing here we all embelish ideas / knowledge
                              \Nothing is etched in stone when it comes to these injuries and nothing is etched in stone 100% on anything so I learn from you all and just post my words .

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