To the top

Page Manager: Webmaster
Last update: 9/11/2012 3:13 PM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Autonomic dysfunction in … - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on

Autonomic dysfunction in spinal cord injury: clinical presentation of symptoms and signs

Review article
Authors Ann-Katrin Karlsson
Published in Progress in Brain Research
Volume 152
Pages 1-8
ISSN 0079-6123
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 1-8
Language en
Keywords preganglionic neurons, sympathetic function, dysreflexia, lipolysis
Subject categories Neuroscience


Spinal cord injury and especially cervical spinal cord injury implies serious disturbances in autonomic nervous system function. The clinical effects of these disturbances are striking. In the acute phase, the autonomic imbalance and its effect on cardiovascular, respiratory system and temperature regulation may be life threatening. Serious complications such as over-hydration with the risk of pulmonary edema or hyponatremia are seen. The cord-injured person suffers from autonomic nervous system dysfunction also affecting bladder and bowel control, renal and sexual function. Paralytic ileus may cause vomiting and aspiration, which in turn interferes with respiratory function in those with cervical spinal cord injury. The cord-injured person is at risk to develop pressure sores from the moment of the accident. Two to three months post-injury the cord-injured person with a lesion level above the fifth thoracic segment may develop autonomic dysreflexia, characterised by sympathetically mediated vasoconstriction in muscular, skin, renal and presumably gastrointestinal vascular beds induced by an afferent peripheral stimulation below lesion level. The reaction might cause cerebrovascular complications and has effects on metabolism. Some of the autonomic disturbances are transient and a new balance is reached months post-injury, while others persist for life.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?