What causes autonomic dysreflexia in spinal cord injury?

What is the most common cause of autonomic dysreflexia?

The most common cause of autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is spinal cord injury. The nervous system of people with AD over-responds to the types of stimulation that do not bother healthy people.

What are possible causes of autonomic dysreflexia?

Autonomic Dysreflexia Causes

  • Constipation.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Inserting a catheter, a medical tube.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Irritated or blistered skin.
  • Pressure sores.
  • Sunburn or hot water burns.

What level of spinal cord injury causes autonomic dysreflexia?

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.

Why does T6 cause autonomic dysreflexia?

Patients with lesions above T6 are most susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia because the large splanchnic blood vessels are supplied by sympathetic fibres carried within T6 to T10 nerve roots.

What do you do if someone has autonomic dysreflexia?

If you feel you have autonomic dysreflexia:

  1. Sit up straight, or raise your head so you are looking straight ahead. …
  2. Loosen or take off any tight clothing or accessories. …
  3. Empty your bladder by draining your Foley catheter or using your catheter.
  4. Use digital stimulation to empty your bowel.
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How often does autonomic dysreflexia occur?

Autonomic dysreflexia can occur in susceptible individuals up to 40 times per day.

Which are characteristics of autonomic dysreflexia?

In autonomic dysreflexia, patients will experience hypertension, sweating, spasms (sometimes severe spasms) and erythema (more likely in upper extremities) and may suffer from headaches and blurred vision.

How do you explain autonomic dysreflexia?

Autonomic dysreflexia occurs when something happens to your body below the level of your injury. This can be a pain or irritant (such as tight clothing or something pinching your skin) or a normal function that your body may not notice (such as having a full bladder and needing to urinate).

What type of doctor treats autonomic dysreflexia?

Physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation are well-acquainted with the diagnosis and management of autonomic dysreflexia and can be of assistance in both acute management and prevention strategies of this syndrome.

What is silent autonomic dysreflexia?


Current research shows that significant elevations in blood pressure can occur without signs and symptoms of AD (asymptomatic). This condition is known as “Silent” Autonomic Dysreflexia.

Is autonomic dysreflexia permanent?

(See http://www.msktc.org/sci/model- system-centers for more information). Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a medical condition that can lead to serious stroke, seizure, organ damage, permanent brain injury, or even death if not treated immediately.

Why does autonomic dysreflexia cause sweating?

Because the brain doesn’t get the message of pain, your body makes your blood pressure increase – this is AD. When your blood pressure increases it can cause all sorts of seemingly unrelated signs and symptoms including a pounding headache, sweating, goosebumps, stuffy nose, blurred vision, or red splotchy skin.

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