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Topic: Care Management
Publication Type: Safety Notice
Single or Multiple Incident: multiple
Date: 11/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
Country: Australia
Organization: New South Wales Department of Health (Australia)

"Patients with spinal cord injury at or above the sixth thoracic (T6) level can be susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia, a potentially life-threatening medical emergency. Autonomic dysreflexia is a sudden and severe rise in blood pressure resulting from an isolated event triggered from a nociciceptive stimulus that can result in intracranial heaemorrhage, fits, arrhythmias, hypertensive encephalopathy and even death. Common causes of autonomic dysreflexia are listed with primary causes related to bladder and bowel distension, pressure sores or multiple other causes. This Safety Notice provides detailed information for health care professionals ranging from Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Departments to Staff in general hospitals and wards to be aware of the causes and treatments of autonomic dysreflexia. Area Health Services suggest that health care professionals review local practices to include the suggested actions and to ensure an autonomic dysreflexia management algorithm is available in each health service. Actions to reduce risk have been included as well as a treatment algorithm for spinal cord patients who develop autonomic dysreflexia and hypertensive crisis."

Autonomic Dysreflexia