This is a condition of sudden high blood pressure which may continue to rise and may cause a brain haemorrhage or fits.
This is a medical emergency.
Symptoms and signs
The symptoms and signs of autonomic dysreflexia are:
- Pounding headache, which gets worse
- Blurred vision
- Flushing and blotching of the skin above the level of spinal cord injury
- Profuse sweating
- Goose bumps
- Chills without fever
- Slow pulse rate
- High blood pressure.
Autonomic dysreflexia is commonly caused by:
- Bladder irritation such as distended bladder (very full), urological procedure, urine infection
- Bowel irritation
- Skin irritation such as pressure sores, ingrown toenail
- Other factors such as fractured bones or painful stimuli below the level of the injury.
The treatment for autonomic dysreflexia is:
- Sitting upright
- Removing the cause such as blocked catheter, full bladder, pain relief
- Administering appropriate medication to lower blood pressure if required.