It is estimated that between a quarter to a half million people will endure a spinal cord injury (SCI) each year, world-wide. SCI causes long-lasting and often irreversible changes in motor, sensory and autonomic function, leading to reduced quality of life and increased morbidity rates in those affected. SCI is characterized by the initial injury due to trauma, and by secondary cellular events that result in a further tissue damage like the breakdown of the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB), hemorrhage, edema, ischemia, inflammation, and tissue necrosis at and around the injury site. To date there is no widely accepted and effective treatment for edema following SCI.
Prof. Victor Rodgers and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a method for effectively treating excess swelling from fluid, or edema, following a spinal cord injury. Following severe contusion to the spinal cord, edema accumulates and compresses the tissue against the surrounding dura mater. It is believed that this compression results in restricted flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and ultimately collapses local vasculature, exacerbating ischemia and secondary injury. This technology includes a surgically mounted osmotic transport device (OTD) that rests on the dura and can osmotically remove excess fluid at the injury site to reduce secondary injury.
Fig 1: | Effects of OTD treatment on % water content after severe SCI. Percent (%) water content calculated SCI only, SCI + hydrogel (HG), and SCI + OTD following treatment. The figure shows a statistical reduction in % water content in tissue following OTD treatment