Neurogenic shock is a condition when blood cannot flow normally to body tissues due to damage to the nervous system. If left unchecked, neurogenic shock can be fatal. Therefore, initial identification and prompt handling are needed.
Neurogenic shock, also known as vasogenic shock, generally occurs as a result of spinal cord injury. The injury causes the impaired sympathetic function of the nervous system, which is the function that regulates heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.
If the sympathetic nervous system is unable to function properly, blood pressure in the body can drop drastically suddenly (shock) so that the blood circulation throughout the body becomes not optimal. As a result, there is damage in various body tissues.
Neurogenic Shock Causes
As mentioned earlier, neurogenic shock is often caused by injury or trauma to the spinal cord.
As a result of injury or trauma, it is likely that the body will lose function and stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system that plays a role in maintaining body functions during physical activity, causing shock.
In addition, here are some other factors that interfere with nerves in the spine and can cause neurogenic shock, among others:
- Driving accident
- Side effects of medications that affect the autonomic nervous system
- Improper anesthetic procedure in the spinal cord
- Certain medical conditions.
Neurogenic Shock Risk Factors
Some neurogenic risk factors include:
- 16-30 years old
- Age over 65 years and above
- Frequent use of extreme sports without safety
- Have bone or joint abnormalities
Neurogenic Shock Symptoms
The main symptom of this condition is very low blood pressure.
The following signs or other symptoms of neurogenic shock based on its severity, include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Weakness due to irregular blood circulation
- Heart rhythm becomes slower
- Weak pulse
- Lips or fingers change color
- Decreased body temperature.
Keep in mind that neurogenic shock is an emergency condition that immediately requires treatment from medical personnel.
Therefore, call your doctor immediately and medical help if you or someone nearby experiences the above symptoms to avoid more serious health problems.
Neurogenic Shock Diagnosis
Diagnosis of neurogenic shock can be ascertained by a combination of imaging examination, hemodynamic function monitor, and clinical examination. All these steps must be done in the hospital.
Neurogenic shock is actually a ‘wastebasket diagnosis’ in traumatized patients. A diagnosis of waste means a confirmed diagnosis when the possibility of other medical disorders has been ruled out.
Stabilizing the patient’s condition
Advanced trauma life support (ATLS) recommends that in someone who is experiencing trauma, the risk of shock due to heavy bleeding must be ascertained first. After hemorrhagic shock is treated, then the doctor can check the possibility of neurogenic shock. There are 3 typical signs of neurogenic shock, namely a decrease in blood pressure, a slow heartbeat, and warm body temperature. Suspicion will be higher if you have experienced trauma to the spine.
Perform supporting checks
After doing treatment to stabilize the patient’s condition, the doctor will carry out a supporting examination to find the cause or location of injury to the spinal cord. What are these supporting checks?
- CT scans
CT scan aims to help in the process of diagnosis of the severity of spinal cord injury, bleeding in the body, or damage to other parts of the body.
MRI scan tests help doctors in diagnosing the source of back pain and neurogenic shock.
- Urine test
Urine tests are recommended to measure urine volume and body fluid status in most cases of spinal cord injury. In addition, urine tests can help in detecting signs of infection.