A 19-year-old client has sustained a C-7 fracture, which resulted in his spinal cord being partially transected. By 2 weeks’ postinjury, his neck has been surgically stabilized, and he has been transferred from the intensive care unit.
A potential life-threatening complication the nurse monitors the client for is:
A . Autonomic dysreflexia
B . Bradycardia
C . Central cord syndrome
D . Spinal shock
(A) Autonomic dysreflexia is the exaggerated sympathetic nervous system response to various stimuli in the anesthetized area. Sympathetic stimulation results in severe, uncontrolled hypertension, which may result in myocardial infarction or cerebral hemorrhage.
(B) Bradycardia occurs as a result of sympathetic blockade in the immediate postinjury period. After spinal shock recedes, cardiovascular stability returns, but the client will be bradycardiac for life.
(C) Central cord syndrome is a specific type of spinal cord injury that occurs as a result of either hyperextension injuries or disrupted blood flow to the spinal cord.
(D) Spinal shock occurs in the immediate postinjury phase and usually resolves in approximately 72 hours.