Q: I’m paraplegic and am wondering what happens to blood circulation/flow after spinal cord injury? How is the flow/circulation affected in both the unaffected part and the paralysed part of the body?
A: The blood flow is still the same, but because you don’t use your calve muscles, you don’t have the “pump” that pumps back blood to the heart. You’ll see that your legs get swollen easily and, because you sit a lot of the time (which also compresses the veins in your groins), you may be more at risk for deep-vein thrombosis (when a blood clot forms in deep-lying veins). The unaffected part will not be a problem. Blood flow to the penis and pelvis may be more involuntary.