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Management of Cauda Equina Syndrome

If cauda equina syndrome is not properly managed by medical professionals, a patient will be left with permanent health complications.

Recognising cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency. This means a patient must undergo immediate treatment if serious complications are to be avoided. If decompression surgery is not carried out in the early stages, a patient will suffer permanent nerve damage, leading to long-term problems such as paralysis, bladder dysfunction and sexual dysfunction.

Because of the urgency involved, medical professionals must recognise the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome without delay. Although it is considered a rare condition, it should not be beyond the ability of medical practitioners to make an accurate diagnosis. Doctors should be familiar with the red flag symptoms of cauda equina nerve compression, which are:-

How to manage cauda equina syndrome

If a patient presents with the symptoms described above, a medical practitioner should immediately suspect the possibility of cauda equina syndrome. Steps should then be taken to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

Firstly, a physical examination should be carried out. This should involve a digital rectal examination (to check for reduced anal tone), a leg raise/reflex test (to check for leg weakness and poor reflexes) and a pelvic examination (to check for the loss of sensation and other possible gynaecological/urological causes).

Secondly, tests should be performed to rule out other possible diagnoses. For example, blood and urine tests will help verify whether a patient has a more minor condition, such as a urinary tract infection.

If the examination and test results point towards cauda equina compression, a patient should be urgently referred to hospital. A GP should telephone the hospital in advance of a patient’s arrival, making them aware that an urgent MRI scan may be needed. If a patient is already in hospital, no time should be wasted in carrying out urgent MRI scans. If the imaging tests confirm a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, a patient should proceed to surgery as soon as possible.

If these steps are followed in a timely fashion, the management of cauda equina syndrome will be deemed acceptable.

Cauda equina claims

However, if medical professionals fail to appropriately manage cauda equina syndrome and this leads to severe neurological complications, there will be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact us today to find out more.

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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