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What Are Cauda Equina Syndrome Red Flags?

What Are Cauda Equina Syndrome Red Flags?What are the ‘red flag’ symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and why does the patient need to be warned to look out for them?

Red flag symptoms

Cauda equina syndrome ‘red flag’ symptoms are those symptoms which should alert a medical practitioner to the possibility that the patient is developing the condition and that immediate action may be necessary.

A patient with the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome is likely to be exhibiting some of the following:

If a patient attends their GP or A&E unit with these symptoms, they should merit a referral for an immediate MRI.

They are in danger of developing complete cauda equina syndrome and need confirmation of the cause of their symptoms as a matter of emergency.

If a diagnosis of cauda equina compression is confirmed they may need immediate surgery within hours.

Early symptoms

A patient who may be only at the early stages of cauda equina syndrome (and who may never develop the condition) needs to be advised of the red flag symptoms and the importance of an immediate visit to Accident & Emergency should they start to develop.

Early symptoms which might suggest that the patient is at risk of developing cauda equina syndrome could include the following:

If the patient is experiencing these symptoms in both legs, they may require an urgent MRI scan to assess the state of their cauda equina nerves as they could be considered to be at risk.

Complete cauda equina syndrome

Once the patient has lost sensation in the bladder and is no longer aware of the need to urinate, they are considered to have complete cauda equina syndrome.

At this point, surgery may be less effective but an urgent MRI scan should still be undertaken to confirm a diagnosis and clarify what action to take.

Medical negligence

A failure to explain the red flag symptoms to a patient who may be developing cauda equina syndrome may be considered to have been negligent. If the patient subsequently deteriorates to the point where surgery is less effective because they were not advised of the need to attend A&E, they may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contact us to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you or a loved one are struggling with the appalling long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome due to a failing by your medical practitioner.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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