Project 3

Effects of Targeted Education for Health Care Providers on Prevention and Management of Cardiovascular Conditions in Individuals with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Does targeted education improve cardiovascular care for individuals with SCI?


This project involves the implementation and evaluation of a knowledge translation (KT) strategy for enhancing the knowledge and management of autonomic dysreflexia (AD) among paramedics and emergency room staff. AD is a life-threatening condition among individuals with high level SCI that occurs daily. Despite the high incidence of the condition medical personnel outside of rehabilitation hospitals remain unfamiliar with AD. Delayed recognition and unmanaged episodes of AD can lead to heart attack, stroke and even death. These outcomes are avoidable if AD is recognized and managed promptly.

This project will translate knowledge that we have generated in previous research including project 1 and 2. Given the urgent need to manage existing problems of cardiovascular dysfunction, and the potential for an immediate impact on the health of people with SCI, this KT strategy will be implemented in the first two years of the research program.

Previously, our team has published a review of research evaluating AD prevention and management strategies. Additionally, in 2010, members of our team evaluated knowledge of AD among emergency health care personnel in three Canadian provinces and found 80% of respondents to rate their AD knowledge as either “Fair” or “Poor” while at least 25% failed to define AD correctly.

This project will establish baseline data on the frequency of admissions and cost of care related to admissions for episodes of AD in four major emergency rooms in three Canadian provinces. Currently there are no Canadian data on these endpoints. Additionally, we will implement and evaluate a multifaceted KT strategy for enhancing knowledge and management of AD among ER physicians, nurses and paramedics.