Volume 11, Issue 5: Autonomic DysreflexiaAuthor: Craig Jackson
Autonomic dysreflexia – lost in translation
You take a sip of your coffee and reflect on how busy it has been when the MDT lights up
“37-year-old male has an attack of hypertension, needs face-to-face assessment”, a rather puzzling description you think. On arrival you are met by Martyn who is paraplegic and begins to explain his symptoms…
Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is the life threatening result of sensory stimulation below the level of the injury in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients causing an unbalanced physiological response. In the lifetime of an SCI patient it can occur in up to 70% of patients. Systolic blood pressure has been recorded as high as 250–300 mmHg with diastolic of 200–220 mmHg.3
This article provides information on the anatomy and physiology of spinal cord injuries and the nervous system and then goes on to discuss the pathophysiology and causes of AD. There is guidance on how best to assess and treat patients who have AD including the need to recognise the patient’s own knowledge of their condition in order to offer the best level of care.
To check your answers to the quiz please see the back page of the issue.