Recognition and management of autonomic dysreflexia in pediatric spinal cord injury.

Katrina B. McGinnis, Lawrence C. Vogel, Craig M McDonald, Susan Porth, Kathryn J. Hickey, Monica Davis, Pat Bush, Diane Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a well-documented complication of spinal cord injury (SCI) at or above the T6 level. However, research into AD has focused primarily on the adult. Because research that involves children with SCI is scarce, current guidelines may not be appropriate for children. Therefore, many episodes of AD may be unrecognized or inappropriately treated. To address this issue, Shriners Hospitals for Children undertook the development of a protocol specific to children and adolescents. METHOD: A task force was developed to look at current literature on AD and blood pressure in children. Utilizing this literature and consensus among the task force members, the tools necessary to treat children with SCI at risk for AD were developed. RESULTS: The task force developed several products intended to assist in the recognition and management of AD. These include an event flow sheet for recording incidents of AD, a letter for the child's school or primary care physician that provides a brief summary of AD and the child's baseline blood pressure, and a policy/protocol with 2 age-specific algorithms to standardize interventions across the 3 Shriners Hospitals in the United States with SCI programs (California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania). CONCLUSION: The Shriners Hospitals for Children Task Force on Autonomic Dysreflexia in Children with Spinal Cord Injury has developed several tools specific to children. However, many questions remain to be answered concerning blood pressure norms and the clinical presentation of AD in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe journal of spinal cord medicine
Volume27 Suppl 1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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