What Healthcare Professionals should know about Autonomic Dysreflexia

December 8, 2020

Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a condition that may affect as many as 90% of spinal cord injured patients with injuries at or above the 6th thoracic vertebrae. This review aims to increase the knowledge and understanding of AD to ease management of the condition.


In this review, the author describes the prevalence, cause, symptoms, assessment and management of autonomic dysreflexia (AD). A spinal cord injury at or above the 6th thoracic vertebrae may cause AD in up to 90% of the cases. AD is an episodic uncontrolled elevation of systolic blood pressure of more than 20 mmHg that is caused by a noxious stimulus below the level of injury. A noxious stimulus can be a distended bladder or constipation and it is therefore important to have a good bladder and bowel management in place.

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Topics: Neurogenic bowel, Spinal Cord Injury