A patient with a spinal cord injury may develop autonomic dysreflexia following certain stimuli. The association is important to recognize both for prevention and for understanding unexpected clinical findings.


Urogenital conditions:

(1) distended bladder

(2) urinary tract infection

(3) urogenital diagnostic procedure

(4) intermittent catheterization

(5) extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy

(6) sexual intercourse


Rectal conditions:

(1) distended colon and rectum

(2) enema

(3) anal fissure

(4) hemorrhoids


Skin conditions:

(1) pressure ulcer or skin breakdown

(2) cutaneous stimulation

(3) burn

(4) immersion into cold water

(5) tight clothing

(6) ingrown toenails


Musculoskeletal activities:

(1) position changes

(2) range of motion exercises

(3) electrical stimulation

(4) manipulation of a fracture site


Medical interventions:

(1) surgical procedure

(2) radiologic study


Female specific:

(1) pregnancy or delivery

(2) gynecologic procedure or exam


Male specific:

(1) electroejaculation

(2) prostate procedure



(1) orthostatic hypotension

(2) deep vein thrombosis



(1) drugs (sympathomimetics, decongestants, other)

(2) acute abdomen

(3) esophageal reflux


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