Dr. Andrei Krassioukov is a clinician-researcher devoted to helping people with SCI maintain their cardiovascular health. His focus is on a condition commonly known as autonomic dysreflexia (AD), a condition familiar to the majority of individuals with SCI as well as their caregivers. It is characterized as ranging from unpleasant to debilitating episodes of increased arterial blood pressure that can be commonly introduced by very simple stimuli, such as a tight belt or inappropriate wheelchair positioning. Without timely recognition and management the condition can complicate and lead to life-threatening situations.
Dr. Krassioukov is the Associate Director of Rehabilitation Research for ICORD. He is also a Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia, and a physician in the Spinal Cord Program at Vancouver Coastal Health’s GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. He obtained his M.D. from Volgograd State Medical School, Russia, and his Ph.D. from Ivan Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Dr. Krassioukov feels that if we can understand, through research and education, why the condition develops in people with SCI, then we can help manage the condition for the SCI community as a whole. What we learn from lab experiments help us to bring knowledge to clinical practice; we learn how to manage this life-threatening problem and how to assist paramedics and doctors in the emergency room, people in the forefront of acute SCI management.
The ability to combine clinical work with basic science and research is the true success of ICORD. Being able to collaborate with colleagues with multidisciplinary areas of expertise is extremely important for success in SCI research, and therefore also to Dr. Krassioukov.
“Sometimes I hear that SCI is an end-of-life experience for some people,” said Dr. Krassioukov. “Yes, it is bad, but I am inspired and astounded by many of my patients, my research participants and the paralympians I was able to interact with during the last three Paralympic Games. The International Olympic Committee invited me and my students to conduct research on autonomic dysreflexia during the games, a condition common to individuals with SCI, and one that frequently causes significant disadvantage for paralympians during the competition.” Presently, Dr. Krassioukov’s team is looking forward to the 2012 London Paralympic Games, where they will help with education and research as part of a cardiovascular clinic. The main goal of the research is to give all athletes an even playing field.