Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Health and Sport Sciences

Degree Program

Exercise Physiology, MS

Committee Chair

Rouffet, David

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ditterline, Bonnie

Committee Member

Harman, Kathryn

Author's Keywords

Myocardial Performance Index; Epidural Stimulation; Task-Specific; Systolic Function; Diastolic Function


Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality, and this is especially true in individuals with spinal cord injury. Decreased systemic blood pressure leads to cardiac deconditioning, thought to be related to the increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in this population. This study investigates effects of myocardial loading from epidural stimulation in a group of individuals with spinal cord injury to understand how changes in preload and afterload could lead to beneficial myocardial remodeling. The study conducted echocardiograms to describe the myocardial changes after training with two different types of epidural stimulation intervention: one designed to facilitate movement (Voluntary) and one targeted to maintain systolic blood pressure within a target range of 110-120 mmHg (Cardiovascular). The study showed significant increases in SBP (31±4mmHg) and DBP (17±3mmHg) values with the use of Cardiovascular stimulation compared with Voluntary stimulation. Changes in blood pressure did not, however, lead to significant changes in cardiac structure or function outcomes.