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Cardiovascular & Pulmonary



Alex Ovechkin, MD, Ph.D.

Alex Ovechkin, MD, Ph.D.


Sevda Aslan, Ph.D.
Bonnie Ditterline, Ph.D.


Eddie Brown


Hanna Martin
Jesse Fisher
Kevin Tran




We design protocols using standard medical and research equipment to obtain objective assessments of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary functions. These assessments are essential to helping us better understand, improve and ultimately overcome dysfunction in these areas.

Pulmonary Assessments

  • Spirometry and airway Pressure (Pulmonary function test): The participant is asked to inhale and exhale though a mouth piece to get measurements of volume of the lungs, airflow and pressure of the airway.
  • Respiratory Motor Control Assessment (RMCA): In addition to measurements of volume of the lungs, airflow and pressure of the airway, Muscle activity in the limbs and trunk is also recorded using sensors placed over the heart and muscle groups, elastic belts over the chest and abdomen also record how the individual is breathing along with a finger cuff to record blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Aerobic Fitness Test (VO2Peak): An individual will be asked to, depending on their level of ability, while a face mask which covers the mouth and nose to determine the amount of oxygen needed by the individual during exercise.
  • Resting Metabolic rate (RMR): a plastic canopy hood is placed over the individual’s head and shoulders to measure the gases inhaled and exhaled to determine the rate that their body burns calories while the individual is at rest.

Cardiovascular Assessments

  • Orthostatic Stress Test (CV-OH or CV-cat): Assesses the cardiovascular systems response to position change. Blood pressure, heart rate and chest and abdomen movements are measured while participants lay on their backs and again when the position is rapidly changed to sitting. With blood draw: licensed personnel take blood samples from a small catheter inserted in a vein in the arm.
  • Ambulatory BP and Heart rate monitoring (ABPM): done outside of the lab, heart rate and blood pressure are monitored as the individual completes normal daily activities with a regular sleep schedule, participants are asked to write down any activity of interest and will be given a questionnaire about their blood pressure stability, blood pressure will be recorded at set intervals while heart rate is monitored continuously by two small boxes attached to the chest and waist.
  • Cardiovascular Stimulation Configuration Test (CVsc-ES):  is an assessment for the optimization of the cardiovascular epidural stimulation configuration to modulate systolic blood pressure, with or without EMG
  • Arterial pulse wave velocity (aPWV): Heart and blood vessel structure and function and stiffness are assessed as well as arterial muscle properties using ultrasound, light, and pressure detecting technology. The tests are performed while participant is laying on the back, on the side and while seated. The purpose of the exam is NOT to assess overall cardiovascular health or to diagnose unknown diseases. However, abnormalities that may put health at risk may be observed, and if they are, findings are reported to our study physician.
  • Trans-Cranial Dopplera headset with ultrasound sensors is placed on the head to measure the blood flow in the brain of certain arteries, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate may also be recorded.
  • Questionnaire: The individual is asked to complete a standard questionnaire, the Autonomic Dysfunction Following Spinal Cord Injury (ADFSCI), to provide information about their autonomic and blood pressure regulation stability.
  • Echocardiography: this is an assessment to look at different areas of the heart at different positions of the body while monitoring blood pressure.
  • Vascular Ultrasound: Doppler ultrasound is used to take images of an artery before, after and during times when a blood pressure cuff is inflated to restrict blood flow on the upper arm and thigh; the images are used to measure the stiffness of arteries and blood flow
  • Immunological Blood Panel (IBP): After a 12 hour water only fast two tablespoons of blood is drawn and analyzed for information about the immune system, the individual’s gene profile, and the number of different types of cells in the blood stream. Blood samples that are not immediately analyzed may be kept until the end of the study
  • Cognitive Assessment Battery (CAB): This is a series of tests where the participant is ask to preform tasks like read a list of words, remember words read to them, identify colors, look for patterns, generate a list of words, count, or recreate a design; blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing may be monitored along with CO2 while exhaling.



Adult NeuroRecovery Program

Translational Research at KSCIRC

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