Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD) occurs when there is a sudden rise in blood pressure in an individual with a spinal cord injure (SCI), with a neurological level of T6 or above.The cause of AD is a pain stimulus or injury below the level of injury. This results in an unopposed sympathetic system discharge. when this occurs the individuals blood pressure quickly raises 20-40mm Hg systolic above the individuals normal baseline blood pressure.
Symptoms of AD:
Increased blood pressure
Flushing & sweating above the level of SCI
Bronchospasm or respiratory distress
Goose bumps on skin above the level of SCI
What to do:
Keep the person in a 90 degree upright position.
Check to see if there is free urinary drainage.
Check for distended bowel.
Check for ingrowing toenails and skin sores.
Assess for other possible noxious stimuli.
Hypertension should be treated medically if it persists with prescribed Nitro Paste or Nifedipine.
If left untreated, this condition can result in seizure, retinal hemorrhage, stroke or in extreme cases, death.
IF YOU FEEL THERE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!