Autonomic dysreflexia is a life-threatening condition. The most common causes are bladder and bowel distention, for example because of an overfull bladder or constipation which can be exacerbated by infections.
The effects are raised blood pressure, a very slow heartbeat and pounding headache with flushing, sweating or blotching above level of injury and pale, cold, goose bumps below level of injury. People with an injury at T6 or above are at risk of autonomic episodes.
In July this year, the NHS sent out a Patient Safety Alert to all NHS staff regarding the diagnosis and treatment of autonomic dysreflexia.