2014 Paralympic Cardiovascular Health Clinic

Why should you visit the Cardiovascular Health Clinic?

paralympicbrochures-stackIf you are an athlete with spinal cord injury, you can learn about your cardiovascular and autonomic health. If you qualify, you can participate in our research study, which could make a big difference for future paralympians.

What sort of research are we doing?

Many athletes who participate in the Paralympics have spinal cord injuries that limit their ability to regulate their heart rate and blood pressure. An increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure gives athletes the energy and stamina they need to compete in strenuous sports. For top-level athletes, this can be a huge competitive disadvantage. We are studying the cardiovascular and autonomic dysfunctions that disadvantage some athletes during competition. We are collaborating with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to design a cardiovascular /autonomic classification for paralympic athletes to complement existing IPC classifications that primarily account only for motor dysfunctions. The IPC classification of athletes is a complex and frequently challenging process, but the main goal of the classification is to allow all athletes to compete according to the paralympic values of fair play and honourable sports competition.

What happens if you participate in the study?

  • You need to have 105 minutes to complete the study.
  • You will complete a questionnaire, and we will conduct a set of non‐invasive physiological tests to examine your blood pressure, heart rate, heart function and blood vessel stiffness. No invasive tests, or any test that could compromise your athletic performance, will be used during the evaluations.
  • You will receive $150 CDN as compensation for your time and transportation.
  • The first 30 athletes will receive one month supply of urinary catheter for intermittent catheterization

Where is the Cardiovascular Health Clinic?

The clinic will be located:

March 9th – Paralympic Mountain Village (see map below)
March 10th – Coastal Village
March 11th & 12th – Mountain Village
March 13th – Laura Athlete Village, Psekhako Ridge.
March 14th & 15th – Mountain Village

We’re located in the Mountain Paralympic Village, at the Polyclinic on March 9, 11, 12, 14, 15. Click here to download a larger version of this map. Our hours are flexible: contact us for an appointment or call Dr. Krassioukov at +1-604-760-4177 for more information.

mountain paralympic village - map detail

Who’s doing this research?

Dr. Andrei Krassioukov-headshot

Dr. Andrei Krassioukov is a world-renowned expert in autonomic dysfunctions following spinal cord injury. He is the Director of the Autonomic Research Lab at ICORD, a professor at the University of British Columbia and a staff physician at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. See an interview with Dr. K. in the Sochi clinic here.

Chris West
uk flag iconTEAM MEMBER

Dr. Chris West is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Krassioukov’s laboratory. He researchers factors affecting athletic performance in elite athletes with spinal cord injury. Having attended the last two summer Paralympics he is looking forward to attending his first winter Paralympics. Chris is an avid snowboarder.


Dr. Katharine Currie is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Krassioukov’s laboratory. As a Canadian, Katharine is accustomed to cold weather sports (although she admits she just recently learned how to ski). She is looking forward to meeting athletes from around the world, as well as watching them perform!

Dr. Michele Hubli

Dr. Michèle Hubli is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Krassioukov’s laboratory. Having grown up in the Swiss Alps, Michèle is an enthusiastic skier and excited to be part of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.

Peggy Assinck

Ms. Peggy Assinck is a PhD student in Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff‘s laboratory. Her thesis work involves attempting to better understand how different types of cells within the spinal cord respond to spinal cord injury. Peggy is a member of the Canadian Women’s Sledge Hockey team and is excited about promoting Women’s Sledge Hockey in Canada and around the world. She hopes that Women’s Sledge Hockey will be included in future Paralympic Games.

paralympics heartWe will give you information brochures about Boosting, Autonomic Dysreflexia, Orthostatic Hypotension and Urinary Tract Infections when you visit the clinic, but you can also download them here.

This research began at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, continued at the 2010 games in Vancouver, the 2012 games in London, and is now taking place in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Paralympics games. This ongoing project has received support from  ICORD, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, General Electric (2014), Wellspect (2014), Coloplast (2012-2014), West Shore Construction (2012) and the Craig Nielsen Foundation (2010-2012), Rick Hansen Foundation, CFI (2010-2012).