Autonomic Dysreflexia: Symptoms and Treatment (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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      Slides Spinal Cord Injuries and Syndromes.pdf
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      Reference List Medical Surgical Nursing and Pathophysiology Nursing.pdf
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    00:00 So let's look at what you'll see in your patients when they're going into automatic dysreflexia.

    00:05 They'll have problems with headaches, visual changes.

    00:08 They may have some spots in their visual field.

    00:10 They'll have a strong nasal congestion, it will be hard for them to breathe.

    00:15 Their skin will look blotchy.

    00:16 They'll have - be kind of - they'll feel really anxious.

    00:19 They're kind of really tired and wiped out.

    00:21 Their systolic and diastolic blood pressure are both going to raise.

    00:25 Remember since autonomic systems gone awry when trying to fix it, you end up with this weird sweating especially in their face, neck and shoulders up higher.

    00:36 Now, they'll have goosebumps below the area of the lesion, so you should see that usually on their lower legs.

    00:42 The skin is flushing above the lesion especially in their face, neck, and shoulders.

    00:47 Now, let's - this is just a long list of symptoms.

    00:51 What I would love for you to do is pause for a minute, take these symptoms and go back through the steps and see how you can really make that stick in your mind.

    01:04 Okay. Welcome back. Hopefully it took a little bit of time to line up those symptoms with the steps that you know that occur in autonomic dysreflexia with a spinal cord injury and noxious stimuli, like an overfilled bladder.

    01:18 So what do we do when we're treating this? Well, you're gonna monitor that blood pressure very closely.

    01:23 You can look to sit the patient up.

    01:26 You can assess for signs of autonomic dysreflexia for the cause of it.

    01:30 What could this possibly be? And this needs to happen quickly. Is it a wound? Is it a bladder? And usually you'll check the bladder first because that's a very common cause.

    01:39 Take anything off that's constricting of the patient.

    01:42 You want them to only have loose clothing on.

    01:45 When we say go for that bladder first, look for skin breakdown.

    01:49 Check for fecal impaction is another possibility.

    01:52 So I would go for the most obvious ones first, bladder, skin breakdown, wounds, etc.

    01:56 and then consider fecal impaction.

    01:59 Because you're gonna wanna treat this with some pretty fast acting hypertensive medications as needed.

    02:04 But deal with the underlying cause, the underlying noxious stimuli and also work with your healthcare provider about antihypertensive medications.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Autonomic Dysreflexia: Symptoms and Treatment (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Spinal Cord Injuries and Syndromes (Nursing) .

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Resolve the noxious stimuli
    2. Provide blood pressure medications
    3. Give fluids to the client
    4. Maintain the client's body temperature

    Author of lecture Autonomic Dysreflexia: Symptoms and Treatment (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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