Epidural stimulation stabilizes blood pressure
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Epidural stimulation stabilizes blood pressure

December 3, 2019


My name’s Stefanie Putnam and I’m from Lafayette, California and I’m a C4C5 AJA Quadriplegic. I’ve been injured for almost nine years and I’ve been searching for a way to improve my life. One of the biggest obstacles in life has been my blood pressure. My blood pressure is low and it seems to be lower than what most doctors consider low. it stays at 60 over 38 range, which for most they would not be upright, passing out five or six times a day, easy, and having to have constant care because of the worry. when you’re passing out all the time, no one will leave you alone. So for me to work towards independence and to work towards my goals became very difficult. I had to drive around in my chair with a sign on the back that said ‘push this button if you find this girl passed out in her chair. ‘ I came here in July of 2017 and then by August 2nd, I was implanted with the epidural stimulator and right away we began working on regulating the blood pressure. I was able to start doing things. Instead of existing I was living, I was really living. I could feed myself. I started making my own dinner. We know that by turning on the stimulation we are able to reproducibly reproduce the blood pressure to a targeted level. What was most surprising is that only having it on for a few hours a day we were noticing participants having normal blood pressure through longer periods of time. Many people don’t really realize that walking in many cases is almost not the aspect that really makes their daily lives the most difficult because they have cardiovascular disfunction, repository, bowel, bladder sexual function. All of those things are disrupted, so every day is incredibly difficult for people with a spinal cord injury. We’ve taken the approach now that we want to work on all of them and it appears that epidural stimulation so far has an impact on all of them. So is that an integrated effect or is it that the spinal circuitry is involved either primarily or secondarily in motor and physiological systems. Those are the questions we’re asking now in the laboratory. Because of the epidural simulator, I can live my life to the fullest and I can achieve anything I desire.

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  1. Awesome, Stephanie! I have the same diagnosis as you, that is, c4-5 Asia a. So I fully appreciate what that low blood pressures doing to you. I recall that when I had septic shock and my blood pressure dropped to 66/40 in the hospital, they called a code 66 on me And a crash-cart team rushed to take me to ICU. I can imagine the challenge of dealing with your pressure every day.

    I try to work every day of the month on my FES bike and stay strong (I have logged 28,000 km on the bike in the last seven years). I am keen to come to Louisville for the procedure because it would give me Tools that will enable me to work even harder and more productively.

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