Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Autonomic Dysreflexia

Autonomic Dysreflexia is a condition where people with spinal cord injuries above the Thoracic level of T5 or T6 can have massive firing of their sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). Symptoms can include pounding headaches, a slowed pulse, and sweating above the spinal level of injury. This is usually caused by unpleasant stimuli that the body senses such as a pressure sore or full bladder. In order to treat autonomic dysreflexia one must first determine the cause and then eliminate that trigger. Also, since the hyperreflexia can cause a serious rise in blood pressure, drugs that cause vasodilation (opening of blood vessels) can be important in stabilizing the patient.