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Partial Cauda Equina Syndrome

Partial cauda equina syndrome is also known as incomplete cauda equina syndrome. It is the first stage of the condition. The second and final stage is called complete cauda equina syndrome.

Symptoms of partial cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome must be treated when the condition is still in the partial stage.

A patient will know if they have partial cauda equina syndrome because there will be some bladder control. The patient will have all the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, including loss of sensation and urinary disturbance. However, it will be possible to urinate on demand – albeit it may be necessary to strain to micturate and there may also be a loss of sensation.

Symptoms of complete cauda equina syndrome

The issue of bladder control is vitally important when determining whether a patient has progressed to complete cauda equina syndrome. Someone with complete cauda equina syndrome will have no sensation in the bladder and will not be aware of the need to urinate. This is called urinary retention, and patients are described as ‘being in retention’.

Consequently the bladder will continue to fill up until it overflows, resulting in an episode of incontinence. Often the patient cannot feel this happening – it is only when he/she realises their clothes are wet that it becomes apparent an episode of incontinence has occurred.

Treating partial cauda equina syndrome

When a patient presents with cauda equina syndrome, doctors need to establish whether he/she has partial cauda equina syndrome. This will determine the speed with which surgical treatment is provided. If a patient is still in the partial/incomplete stage, no time should be wasted in arranging surgical decompression. This should be carried out at the earliest available opportunity – either the same day or the following morning.

Certainly surgery must be carried out before a patient develops complete cauda equina syndrome. If a patient goes from incomplete to complete while he/she is staying in a hospital environment, healthcare professionals will be criticised for delaying treatment. In such cases there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

Can I claim for cauda equina syndrome?

If your cauda equina syndrome was not treated quickly enough because healthcare professionals delayed your treatment, you need to talk to a solicitor about your options. It is possible that you have been the innocent victim of substandard medical care. If so, you will be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

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