Cauda Equina Syndrome (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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      Slides Spinal Cord Injuries and Syndromes.pdf
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    00:01 Now let's talk about cauda equina syndrome.

    00:02 An underlying equina, and think of it like equestrian so that will remind you about horses.

    00:09 Because damage to this collection of nerve cells is called the cauda equina syndrome.

    00:14 It's located in the lower back where the spinal cord ends.

    00:18 Now damage to the CE, we'll call it, can cause a loss of function and sensation.

    00:25 Now, it gets its name cuz it looks like a horse's tail.

    00:28 That's why I wanted you to underline equina to remember like equestrian.

    00:32 Now sometimes, it's possible for this type of injury to heal and the patient won't have any residual problems.

    00:38 But if the injury is too severe then that won't be the issue.

    00:42 But if it's not too devastating, the cells may grow back and restore previously lost functions to the affected area.

    00:48 So, not the end of the world, right? At this area, the end of the spinal cord, we know it's called the cauda equina, it reminds us of horses tail that's where we get the word from.

    00:59 If you have damage to that, this may be able to be resolved if the injury isn't too severe.

    01:06 Now when you're looking over here at the drawing, you've got spinal cord again, just to refresh your memory on the different levels and areas of the spinal cord.

    01:15 Now, herniated disc can occur with advanced age or it could be caused by a spinal cord injury.

    01:21 Okay. So you know what this syndrome is.

    01:25 Now, let's just do a quick review on what can cause it.

    01:27 Well, trauma that's an obvious one, right? We always think of that when we think about spinal cord problems, but also a spinal tumor.

    01:35 Remember, a tumor is growing in a place it has not been invited to, can put pressure on that spinal cord and cause problems.

    01:42 Lastly, even a severe infection can cause this syndrome.

    01:47 Now in some rare cases, but still possible, spinal stenosis or narrowing of that spinal column may do it.

    01:54 And vertebral fractures from osteoporosis can lead to the same syndrome.

    01:59 Now, what do you think it feels like as a patient to have this? Well, none of it is fun.

    02:05 They can have low back pain, they can also have this near - weird numbness and tingling in their buttocks and their low extremities; sciatica.

    02:15 They can have weakness in their legs or they can even have incontinence of bladder and bowel.

    02:23 So clearly the symptoms can range from minor to life altering when it comes to quality of life.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Cauda Equina Syndrome (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Spinal Cord Injuries and Syndromes (Nursing) .

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Cauda equina syndrome
    2. Central cord syndrome
    3. Brown-Sequard syndrome
    4. Posterior cord syndrome

    Author of lecture Cauda Equina Syndrome (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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