Methods: Six anesthetized Yorkshire pigs were studied using a custom-made multi-wavelength NIRS system with a miniaturized optical sensor applied directly on the surgically exposed SC at T9. The oxidation states of SC tissue hemoglobin and CCO were monitored before, during and after acute SCI, and during mean arterial pressure alterations.
Results: Non-invasive NIRS monitoring reflected changes in SC tissue CCO, simultaneous but independent of changes in hemoglobin saturation following acute SCI. A consistent decrease in SC tissue CCO chromophore concentration (-1.98 ± 2.1 ab, p<0.05) was observed following SCI, indicating progressive SC cellular damage at the injury site. Elevation of mean arterial pressure can reduce SC tissue damage as suggested by different researchers and observed by significant increase in SC tissue CCO concentration (1.51 ± 1.7 ab, p<0.05) in this study.
Conclusions: This pilot study indicates that a novel miniaturized multi-wave NIRS sensor has the potential to monitor post-SCI changes of SC cytochrome aa3 oxygenation state in real time. Further development of this method may offer new options for improved SCI care.