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Thread: Ischemic Stroke due to Drug Overdose

  1. #1
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    Ischemic Stroke due to Drug Overdose

    I've posted about my injury before but now that there is a thread specific to nontraumatic SCI I'd like to ask if anyone has ever heard of this happening before.

    In August 2003 I became extemely depressed and attempted suicide by overdosing on vicodin, flexeril, klonopin, and xanax. I passed out and was found by neighbors 14 hours later. I was rushed to the hospital and finally came to a few hours later. Once the doctor told me what all had been done to me, stomach pumped, etc., I said "And I'm paralyzed" (I'm not sure exactly how I knew...I hadn't struggled to move or even panicked that I couldn't move) By the look on the doctor's face I realized that he had not known that. They transferred me to another hospital where they did every test they could think of. The MRI showed a SCI at C5-C7. All other tests came back negative.

    The only things they could come up with were
    a) I had slumped over in an awkward position when I passed out and did have severe back pain while in the ER and that maybe my spinal cord had gotten pinched and had lack of blood flow (ischemic stroke)

    b) The overdose caused my blood pressure to drop low enough (the guess is at leat 30 over palpable) to cause an ischemic stroke

    My physiatrist and Dr. Young have both said that they didn't belive it was a) and that b) sounded more likely.

    None of my doctors has ever heard of anything like this happening. Can you find anything on something like this? I've searched the internet and questioned everyone I can, but can't find anything. Thank you for your help!
    Tina
    C5-C7 Walking Quad - Very Incomplete
    Aug '03

  2. #2
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    Ischemia

    I have T-6 paraplegia from ischemia resulting form operational repair of my torn aorta. Blood was cut off numerous times for a total of 37 minutes during the surgery. The reason for the multiple blood clampings was my blood pressure kept droping to dangerous low levels. I bled out two liters prior to the surgery.

  3. #3
    Tinamarie, I agree with Dr. Young. I have seen several patients with ischemic "water shed" strokes where they had such low blood pressures (for a variety of reasons) that they did not perfuse their cord and ended up with cord damage. Ischemic brain injuries are more common, but it can occur with the cord as well.

    Cord ischemia most often occurs due to either cord AVMs or damage to or surgery on the aorta, the major supplier of blood to the cord, as noted by Redneck.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    I know my husband was asked when I was intubated and out of it if I used cocaine. I know of another ischemic injury who was also asked the same but her injury was at the lumbar level. Neither of us used drugs. The Merck Manual Home Edition updated in 2004 just lists heroin as a possible cause of ischemic SCI in light of no other known contributing factor. It does not list what the mechanism of injury is but low or extremely high blood pressure would be my guess with what I've read on both drugs.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  5. #5
    My ischemia is believed to have been caused by a reaction to recreational drugs(cocaine).

    My doctors are working on publishing their findings in my case but the way I understand it as it was explained to me is...(I'm sure I'm going to screw this up but maybe someone else can expound on my explanation)

    Some drugs can cause vasospasms in blood arteries. In my case the doctor's believe that a vasospasm occured in an artery that supplies blood to the spinal cord. The temporary lose of blood to the spinal cord then caused damage to the cord.

    my level is C3/4

    I hope this makes sense...if you have specific questions about my situation - which sounds alot like yours - please feel free to ask.

  6. #6
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    Hi

    I became a T10 incomplete paraplegic due to a repair on my aorto which ruptured during a MVA in 1996.

  7. #7
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    I became a C2-C3 quad from a blood clot. It came and went within a short period of time (an hour or so). I haven't had much recory in 16 years

  8. #8
    I wonder if anesthetics used during surgery can induce ischemia in the cord? My wife was paraplegic coming out of, not going into, surgery. Ischemia has been mentioned as a possibility, but there's not been a reference to a direct cause.
    - Richard

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfbdorf
    I wonder if anesthetics used during surgery can induce ischemia in the cord? My wife was paraplegic coming out of, not going into, surgery. Ischemia has been mentioned as a possibility, but there's not been a reference to a direct cause.
    - Richard
    Not knowing the type of surgery hard to tell, Richard. Epidurals, normally for labor and delivery, are a very small but known cause of spinal infarcts. Read the disclaimers before signing surgical/medical forms.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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