Scrolling through my dash a little bit ago, I saw a question about autonomic dysreflexia (AD).

AD can be somewhat confusing the first time around, but AD is an emergency situation and it is critical to know the signs and symptoms to be aware of and how to respond to this potentially life threatening situation… so here’s my measly little mind’s breakdown for ya…

Autonomic dysreflexia occurs in patients who have a SCI at or above T6 and also incur some type of sustained stimuli at or below T6. Such stimuli could include a UTI, a pressure ulcer, full bladder, restrictive clothing, constipation, fecal impaction, cystitis, gall stones, hemorrhoids, and the list goes on.

The noxious stimuli produces an afferent impulse that triggers a generalized sympathetic response. The pathways are blocked at the level of the SCI and therefore prevents the body’s normal compensatory mechanisms from responding appropriately. The sympathetic response causes release of neurotransmitters [norepi, dopamine, etc] which causes vasoconstriction, pallor, and piloerection.

The severe vasoconstriction results in sudden increase in blood pressure and vasodilation above the level of injury. This vasodilation causes the patient to become flush and diaphoretic above the level of injury, while remaining pale and cool below the level of injury. The body attempts to lower the BP through compensatory bradycardia. However, these compensatory mechanisms are insufficient. The sustained stimuli must be found and alleviated in order to control the paroxysmal HTN. 



Seems like the temporary warmth is on its way out. It reached 70 today, but the forecast says rain by Thursday. I ordered an iPhone connected weather station so that I can start to track the barometric pressure changes and see if there’s a pattern in the way my body responds. I’m hopeful that I can get my health to persist through this coming rainstorm, but a little apprehensive nonetheless.


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Autonomic Dysreflexia – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Ongoing care

Basics Description A medical emergency characterized by a sudden, dangerously elevated blood pressure (BP) due to a massive sympathetic/catecholamine surge in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) above the level of T6 in response to a noxious stimulus below the level of…
Autonomic Dysreflexia – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Ongoing care

AD is Dissipating and General Talking

    I’m still taking the hydrocodone before cathing if it’s been 6+ hours since I’ve taken one and feel a bit achey in the head. I tried to go without any on Thursday because I was feeling pretty well, but I immediately regretted it when I had a massive headache later in the day. I always have to learn the hard way I guess. It’s slowly going away as a whole, so that’s a relief! I wish I knew what initially set it off so I could avoid it in the future.

    If you’re not sure what I’m talking about and want to know more, click

    I’m sorry to bomb my followers with rebloggings of…well, I don’t know what to call it. Basically, I handle people who handle my disability in an awkward or rude way differently than some. Bottom line is: I’m happy and leave those people with a positive vibe and we appreciate the conversation we’ve had regarding their views of the disabled.

    I hope everyone had a great weekend and Easter if you celebrate that. Have a great day, guys!

Life Care Planning for Spinal Cord Injury - Complications

Potential Complications of Spinal Cord Injury Numerous physiological changes occur in almost every system of the body as a result of spinal cord injury (Blackwell et al., 2001). In addition, there are a host of complications that occur as a result of spinal cord injury. A comprehensive…
Life Care Planning for Spinal Cord Injury - Complications

Such a stressful week

Been a long stressful week full of five hour nights of sleep. Dragging. Going to make myself go to bed at a reasonable hour. Grad school is sometimes a killer. But then when I’m working with pts it’s all worth it. My stroke pt cancelled today, so I got to work with a classmate and their pt with a cervical spinal cord injury. It’s pretty amazing how we can train people to adapt to do things they were told they’d never do again. Autonomic dysreflexia is a serious problem, some get it (mildly) multiple times a day due to normal noxious stimuli such as tight clothes or a full bladder. What we learned in class when this happens don’t lay them down, sit them up to lower their BP, loosen their clothes and call a nurse cause if they have a cath it’s probably plugged.