HomeIntroduction To Spinal Cord InjuryAutonomic DysreflexiaTreating autonomic dysreflexia

6.3. Treating autonomic dysreflexia

Treatment must be initiated quickly to prevent complications. First, remain in a sitting position, but do apply pressure release immediately. You may transfer yourself to bed, but always keep your head elevated. Since a full bladder is the most common cause, check the urinary drainage system. If you have a Foley or suprapubic catheter, check the following:

After correcting an obvious problem, and if your catheter is not draining within 2-3 minutes, your catheter must be changed immediately. If you do not have a Foley or suprapubic catheter, perform a catheterization and empty your bladder. If your bladder has not triggered the episode of AD, the cause may be your bowel. Perform a digital stimulation and empty your bowel. If you are performing a digital stimulation when the symptoms first appear, stop the procedure and resume after the symptoms subside. If your bladder or bowel are not the cause, check to see if:

Identify and remove the offending stimulus whenever possible. Often, this alone is successful in allowing the syndrome to subside without need for pharmacological intervention. If symptoms persist despite interventions such as the foregoing, notify a physician. It is also good for the person with the symptoms to be sitting up with frequent blood pressure checks until the episode has resolved.
If the suspected cause is the ...

Important Reminder:
If you are unable to find the stimulus causing AD, or your attempts to receive the stimulus fail, you need to obtain emergency medical treatment. Since all physicians are not familiar with AD and its treatment, you should carry a card that describes the condition and the treatment required.

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