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Recognising CES Risk Patients

If cauda equina syndrome is to be successfully treated, medical practitioners must recognise the condition before the bladder is paralysed. It is therefore vital that patients at risk of developing complete CES are identified and operated upon without delay.

Signs of cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is when the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed and damaged. Approximately 0.12% of cauda equina patients will develop the condition because of a disc prolapse. Other causes include a traumatic accident, spinal stenosis, a spinal tumour or an infection.

When the nerves are damaged, a patient will begin to notice a collection of symptoms, including:

These symptoms may present very suddenly (acute CES) or develop gradually over time (chronic CES). Either way, it is certain that a patient’s condition will deteriorate with time.

Complete cauda equina syndrome

The only way to prevent a patient’s condition deteriorating is to surgically decompress the nerves. This must be done before the condition is complete, meaning the nerve roots are so damaged that a patient has no sensation or control in their bladder.

Complete CES will result in bladder paralysis, whereby the bladder will fill with urine, but the patient is unaware of the need to urinate. Consequently the bladder will overflow and a patient will suffer an episode of urinary incontinence.

In the case of acute CES, a patient can develop complete urinary retention and overflow incontinence within a matter of hours. In the case of chronic CES, it may take weeks or months for a patient to reach complete cauda equina syndrome.

Once the condition is complete a recovery is unlikely. A patient will then be left with severe neurological complications such as urinary dysfunction, paralysis and sexual dysfunction.

Recognising the signs of CES

It is therefore essential that medical practitioners recognise the signs of cauda equina syndrome, before the bladder becomes paralysed. This can be achieved by recognising the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, as listed above. Any patient with these symptoms should then be sent for an urgent MRI scan, meaning it must be carried out within 24 to 48 hours. If there is a failure to do this, it may be too late and a patient will be left with serious disabilities.

Claiming compensation for medical error

If you or your loved one has developed cauda equina complications because doctors failed to recognise the signs of CES, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to speak to a solicitor.

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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