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Rapid Onset Of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome can develop extremely rapidly, often reaching the final ‘complete’ stages within a matter of hours. However, when the condition is complete, any treatment provided by medical professionals will be largely ineffective. The consequences for the patient will therefore be both serious and life-changing.

Diagnosing acute Cauda Equina Syndrome

Experts have identified three types of Cauda Equina Syndrome:-

1. Rapid onset without a previous history of back problems;

2. Acute bladder dysfunction with a history of lower back pain and sciatica;

3. Chronic back ache and sciatica with gradually progressing Cauda Equina Syndrome.

In terms of the first type – rapid onset without a previous history of back problems – the person in question will very suddenly develop the symptoms indicative of nerve compression. These will include a severe lower back pain, urinary problems (such as the inability to void and increased frequency) and potentially the loss of perineal sensation.

In the majority of rapid onset cases, the symptoms will be so severe that the individual concerned will soon seek emergency medical treatment, usually at their nearest A&E department. This is of course the right thing to do, as Cauda Equina must be treated as soon as possible.

Doctors should then recognise the patient’s problems as being similar to the ‘red flag’ symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome. However, it is a condition that can be easily confused with other complaints such as a urinary tract infection. Therefore medical professionals should take care to ensure the correct diagnosis is identified. A physical examination, blood and urine tests and an MRI scan should all be performed to either confirm or rule out the possibility of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

What happens if treatment is delayed?

It is absolutely vital no time is wasted in obtaining the results of these tests. This is because rapid onset Cauda Equina Syndrome will become acute within a matter of hours. Decompression surgery must be carried out before the condition is allowed to reach this stage. The exact time frame will vary from case to case, but it is generally accepted the condition will become ‘complete’ within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

If treatment is not provided within this time frame, the nerves will sustain so much damage that a repair will prove ineffective. Consequently a patient will be left with significant neurological complications such as partial or total paralysis of the legs, urinary and sexual dysfunction and loss of perineal sensation.

Have you suffered because of a delay?

If you have suffered because of a delay in treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome, you could be considered the victim of medical negligence. This means that because doctors failed to diagnose in a timely fashion, you sustained injuries that would otherwise have been avoided with prompt treatment. If so, you will be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering medical errors have caused you and your family. For more information, please contact us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors.

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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