autonomic dysreflexia

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Related to autonomic dysreflexia: autonomic nervous system, Spinal shock, Autonomic dysfunction


not subject to voluntary control.
autonomic dysreflexia an uninhibited and exaggerated reflex of the autonomic nervous system to stimulation; called also hyperreflexia. The response occurs in 85 per cent of all patients who have spinal cord injury above the level of the sixth thoracic vertebra. It is potentially dangerous because of attendant vasoconstriction and immediate elevation of blood pressure, which in turn can bring about hemorrhagic retinal damage or stroke syndrome. Less serious effects include severe headache; changes in heart rate; sweating, flushing, and “goose bumps” or piloerection above the level of the spinal cord injury; and pallor below that level.
Patient Care. Circumstances that can trigger autonomic dysreflexia are often related to stimulation of the bladder, bowel, and skin of the patient. Examples are a distended bowel or bladder, pressure on the skin, or any of a number of noxious stimuli.

Once the symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia are manifest, emergency care is indicated. Efforts are made to lower the blood pressure by placing the patient in a sitting position or elevating the head and upper body to a 45-degree angle. The stimulus must be identified and removed as gently and quickly as possible. If fecal impaction is the cause, the rectum should be coated with an anesthetic ointment prior to attempted removal of the impaction; this prevents increasing the stimulus to autonomic dysreflexia. The physician is notified so that appropriate medical intervention can be initiated. Antihypertensive drugs are a last resort. As soon as the cause is identified and removed, the dysreflexia will disappear. Patients who experience repeated attacks may require surgery to sever the nerves responsible for the exaggerated response to stimulation.
autonomic nervous system the branch of the nervous system that works without conscious control. The voluntary nervous system governs the striated or skeletal muscles, whereas the autonomic nervous system governs the glands, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscles such as those of the digestive system, respiratory system, and skin. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two subsidiary systems, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. See Plate 14.


a condition of disordered response to stimuli.
autonomic dysreflexia
1. an uninhibited and exaggerated response of the autonomic nervous system to stimulation, as seen in many patients with high spinal cord injuries; see also autonomic dysreflexia.
2. a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as a life-threatening uninhibited sympathetic response of the nervous system to a noxious stimulus after a spinal cord injury at T7 or above.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

autonomic dysreflexia

A potentially life-threatening condition most common in patients with spinal cord injuries above T6, but which may occur with lesions as low as T10.

Clinical findings
Severe paroxysmal hypertension accompanied by throbbing headaches, profuse sweating, nasal stuffiness, flushing of the skin above thelesion, bradycardia, apprehension and anxiety.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

autonomic dysreflexia

Neurology A potentially life-threatening ↑ in BP, sweating, and other autonomic reflexes in reponse to various stimuli–eg, bowel impaction. See Autonomic failure.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

au·to·no·mic dys·re·flex·ia

(aw'tō-nom'ik dis-rē-flek'sē-ă)
A syndrome occurring in some people with spinal cord lesions resulting from functional impairment of the autonomic nervous system. Symptoms include hypertension, bradycardia, severe headaches, pallor below and flushing above the cord lesion, and convulsions.
Synonym(s): autonomic hyperreflexia.
[G. autos, self + nomos, law; dys, difficult at + L. reflectere, to bend back]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

au·to·no·mic dys·re·flex·ia

(aw'tō-nom'ik dis-rē-flek'sē-ă)
A syndrome occurring in some people with spinal cord lesions resulting from functional impairment of the autonomic nervous system.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Early diagnosis of autonomic dysreflexia is of paramount importance and physicians should remember the pathology in the presence of minimal symptoms or sometimes even in the absence of characteristic symptoms.
Kasravi, and W Ho, "Fatal cerebral hemorrhage due to autonomic dysreflexia in a tetraplegic patient: Case report and review," Paraplegia, vol.
Botel et al., "Sacral bladder denervation for treatment of detrusor hyperreflexia and autonomic dysreflexia," Urology, vol.
Take Home Points * 1: Autonomic dysreflexia is a serious medical condition in some spinal cord injury patients.
Pathophysiolgy of autonomic dysreflexia; long-term treatment with terazosin in adult and pediatric spinal cord injury patients manifesting recurrent dysreflexic episodes.
Key Words: autonomic dysreflexia, paraplegia, quadriplegia, anterior spinal thrombosis
She said: "Autonomic dysreflexia comes on with no warning and he could have died.
Difficulties such as urinary tract infections, pressure sores, and autonomic dysreflexia,(1) for example, could become life-threatening if not treated properly -- and promptly.
As someone with SCI/D, it's in your best interest for you, your family and your doctor to discuss ways to avoid hazardous conditions such as autonomic dysreflexia, bowel complications, pressure sores or other health issues that could develop.
Defines complications associated with neurogenic bladder 0 pt: Does not mention any dangers 1 pt: Mentions one of: UTI, autonomic dysreflexia, vesico- ureteral reflux/hydronephrosis 2 pts: Mentions more than one of above Q23.
Individuals with acute and chronic SCI have a number of elevated risks for cardiopulmonary arrest, including deep venous thrombosis, mucous plugging, autonomic dysreflexia [10], and cardiomyopathy; however, no studies have investigated rates of hospital survival after cardiopulmonary resuscitation in this population.

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