Header image

Plenary #5 - Anthony DiMarco Lecture: Prof David Berlowitz

Track 1
Track 2
Track 3
Saturday, September 5, 2020
10:00 AM - 10:55 AM
Auditorium - Track 1


Agenda Item Image
Prof David Berlowitz
Professor of Physiotherapy
University of Melbourne

Sleep disordered breathing after spinal cord injury.

10:00 AM - 10:55 AM


People living with spinal cord injury, particularly tetraplegia, have substantial respiratory pump muscle weakness and thus it was presumed they should hypoventilate during sleep. The upper airway muscles are innervated directly by the cranial nerves and therefore conditions like obstructive sleep apnoea should be unusual after spinal cord injury. The opposite its true; sleep apnoea is incredibly common and hypoventilation is rare. This talk will explore the experience of people with spinal cord injury living with sleep disordered breathing, the pathophysiology of the conditions, available treatments, and the associations between care practices, access and equity.


David Berlowitz is a Physiotherapist with the Victorian Respiratory Support Service who holds the University of Melbourne Chair in Physiotherapy at Austin Health. David was awarded his PhD in 2004 in which he discovered that acute cervical spinal cord injury results in sudden and severe obstructive sleep apnoea. David leads an international team of research collaborators, students and staff who examine the causes and treatments of sleep and breathing disorders in neuromuscular disease, especially Spinal Cord Injury and Motor Neurone Disease. David’s research encompasses respiratory physiology, sleep, health systems research, and clinical trials of therapies and care models.