Autonomic dysreflexia: A plastic surgery primer

Catherine M. Curtin, David Gater, Kevin C. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Plastic surgeons are integral to the management team for patients with spinal cord injuries, with responsibilities including pressure sore management and upper extremity reconstruction. Injury to the spinal cord profoundly disrupts the body's ability to maintain homeostasis. In particular, the autonomic system can become unregulated, resulting in a massive sympathetic discharge called autonomic dysreflexia. Autonomic dysreflexia occurs in the majority of patients with injuries above the sixth thoracic vertebra and causes sudden, severe hypertension. If left untreated, autonomic dysreflexia can result in stroke or death. Because this syndrome causes morbidity and mortality, it is crucial for plastic surgeons to be able to recognize and treat autonomic dysreflexia. This article reviews the etiology, symptoms, and treatment of this syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-329
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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