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Autonomic dysreflexia is a potentially dangerous clinical syndrome that develops in individuals with spinal cord injury, resulting in acute, uncontrolled hypertension.
Briefly, autonomic dysreflexia develops in individuals with a neurologic level of spinal cord injury at or above the sixth thoracic vertebral level (T6). Autonomic dysreflexia causes an imbalanced reflex sympathetic discharge, leading to potentially life-threatening hypertension. It is considered a medical emergency and must be recognized immediately. If left untreated, autonomic dysreflexia can cause seizures, retinal hemorrhage, pulmonary edema, renal insufficiency, myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, and death. Complications associated with autonomic dysreflexia result directly from sustained, severe peripheral hypertension.
Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), also known as hyperreflexia, refers to an over-active Autonomic Nervous System, which causes an abrupt onset of excessively high blood pressure. Persons at risk for this problem generally have injury levels above T-5. AD can develop suddenly and is potentially life threatening and is considered a medical emergency. If not treated promptly and correctly, it may lead to seizures, stroke, and even death.
AD occurs when an irritating stimulus is introduced to the body below the level of spinal cord injury, such as an overfull bladder. The stimulus sends nerve impulses to the spinal cord, where they travel upward until they are blocked by the lesion at the level of injury. Since the impulses cannot reach the brain, a reflex is activated that increases activity of the sympathetic portion of autonomic nervous system. This results in spasms and a narrowing of the blood vessels, which causes a rise in the blood pressure.
Signs & Symptoms What is autonomic dysreflexia
- Pounding headache (caused by the elevation in blood pressure)
- Goose Pimples
- Sweating above the level of injury
- Nasal Congestion
- Slow Pulse
- Blotching of the Skin
- Hypertension (blood pressure greater than 200/100)
- Flushed (reddened) face
- Red blotches on the skin above level of spinal injury
- Sweating above level of spinal injury
- Slow pulse (< 60 beats per minute)
- Cold, clammy skin below level of spinal injury
Treatment of AD is removal of the offending stimuli and administering anti-hypertensives......not narcan.
I think your patient has some soul searching to do
....Automatic Dysreflexia (Hyperreflexia)