Tag: bowel care
For many individuals with spinal cord injury, restoring autonomic functions – such as blood pressure control, bowel, bladder and sexual function – is of a higher priority than walking again.
Paralysis (loss of muscle function) is the most visible consequence of a spinal cord injury. Historically, there have been few significant advances in the treatment of such paralysis in individuals with long-term injuries.
Patients with spinal cord injury or neurological conditions may have neurogenic bowel dysfunction, which often means they depend on routine interventional bowel care, including the digital (manual) removal of faeces (DRF).
Some of these patients, especially those with spinal cord injury above T6, are particularly susceptible to the potentially life-threatening condition autonomic dysreflexia, which is characterised by a rapid rise in blood pressure, risking cerebral haemorrhage and death. A small number of patients who have had a severe stroke or who have severe forms of Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or spina bifida may also be susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia.
Cardiovascular physiology researcher Victoria Claydon’s latest study, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, focuses on the results of her multi-national study, which surveyed almost 300 participants with spinal cord injuries at or above the mid-thoracic level (middle of the chest ).
As a first step towards improving quality of life for this community, Claydon first had to collect data on the most pressing concerns for individuals with spinal cord injury. Her results showed that bowel care, followed by sexual function, bladder function and pain were of key concern. Surprisingly, one of the lowest-ranked concerns was using a wheelchair for mobility.