Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Daniel Credeur

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Scott Piland

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

David Dolbow

Committee Member 3 Department



Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) can increase leg blood flow (BF) in able-bodied persons. Whether IPC can alter leg BF, and improve vascular function in people with SCI is currently unknown. PURPOSE: Test the hypothesis that acute IPC will increase leg BF, and improve vascular function in SCI. METHODS: Participants (n=8; injury level: T3 and below; A.S.I.A. class A-C; age: 41±17 yrs) were recruited for a 1-hour IPC session performed in one leg (experimental leg; EXP), with the other serving as a control (CON). IPC consisted of sequential, foot-to-calf compressions (4-s inflate, 16-s deflate; 3 compressions/min). Posterior-tibial artery BF (Doppler-ultrasound) was examined at rest, and at 15 and 45 mins of IPC. Vascular function was assessed using the flow-mediated dilation approach (FMD), before and after IPC. RESULTS: Resting posterior-tibial artery diameter, BF, FMD% and FMD normalized to shear area-under-curve (FMD%/AUC) were similar between legs at rest. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA (leg x time) revealed that during IPC, BF tended to increase (P=0.063) in EXP leg (8±2 to 11±3 mL/min at 15 mins; +42±23%), with no change occurring in the CON leg (9±4 to10±5 mL/min at 15 mins). No main effects were noted for FMD following IPC; however, 7 of 8 subjects demonstrated increases in FMD%/AUC for EXP leg (+89±55% improvement; P=0.095, d= 0.362). CONCLUSION: Though no statistical difference was found, there were notable effect sizes reported, thus giving the study further explanation of merit.