Neurogenic shock is a life-threatening condition that can occur after a traumatic brain injury. It’s caused by the sudden release of nerve signals from the brain that disrupt the body’s normal functions. Left untreated, neurogenic shock can lead to death. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what causes neurogenic shock, its symptoms and how it’s treated.
What Happens in Neurogenic Shock?
Neurogenic shock happens when there is a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure due to a problem with the nervous system. This can be caused by a number of things, including:
- damage to the brain or spinal cord
- a stroke
- an infection
When this happens, the nervous system is unable to send proper signals to the rest of the body. This can cause a number of problems, including low blood pressure, an irregular heart rate, and trouble breathing. Neurogenic shock can be a life-threatening condition, so it is important to seek medical help immediately if you think you or someone else may be experiencing it.
Inhibition of the parasympathetic nervous system
At the same time, the parasympathetic nervous system is inhibited. This system is responsible for “rest and digest” functions. It slows the heart rate and dilates the blood vessels causing a drop in blood pressure. In medical terms, vasodilatation, vasodilatation, and reduced venous return to the heart result in hypotension.
CPR First Aid (RTO 21903) is a leading provider of compliant and high-quality first aid training. Our first aid courses at Cnr Ferry Rd and, Cotlew St E, Southport 4215 and several other locations have been tailored to better equip its participants with the skills needed to provide first aid to shock patients.
Risk Factors for Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury is the most common cause of neurogenic shock. The following has a higher risk:
- Men are more frequently affected than women by spinal cord injuries.
- Having an age range of 16 to 30. In people in this age group, spinal cord injuries account for more than half of all cases.
- Being 65 or more
- Using alcohol
- Doing dangerous physical activities
- Having certain illnesses
Do You Go Unconscious from Neurogenic Shock?
One of the most common signs of neurogenic shock is a sudden drop in blood pressure. This can cause the person to feel lightheaded or dizzy, and they may even lose consciousness. Other signs and symptoms include:
- low blood pressure
- irregular heart rate
- trouble breathing
- muscle weakness
- numbness or tingling in the extremities
- cold, clammy skin
If you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or spinal cord injury, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of neurogenic shock.
During an emergency, if you suspect that someone has neurogenic shock, it is important to call 000 immediately and get them to a hospital as soon as possible. Neurogenic shock is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
How Common is Neurogenic Shock?
According to studies, neurogenic shock affects 19% to 31% of individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
Neurogenic Shock Treatment
Treatment of neurogenic shock is different from that of cardiogenic shock. In neurogenic shock, there is no damage to the heart muscle, but rather to the nervous system. The goal of treatment is to stabilise the patient’s blood pressure and treat the underlying cause to reduce the risk of further damage to the nervous system and improve blood flow to the organs.
Treatment can be done through IV fluids, medications, and close monitoring. This may also involve aggressive supportive care in the hospital, as well as rehabilitation and physical therapy to help the patient recover from any neurological damage. With prompt and effective treatment, most patients with neurogenic shock can make a full recovery.
To treat neurogenic shock, a number of drugs are available. These include:
Are used to maintain blood pressure and help prevent organ damage.
Are used to constrict blood vessels and help improve blood flow.
May be used to decrease inflammation and swelling around the nervous system.
How to Prevent Neurogenic Shock?
Prevention of neurogenic shock begins with prompt and appropriate medical care for any injuries or conditions that could lead to nervous system damage. For example, if someone sustains a spinal cord injury in an accident, they will need immediate medical attention to prevent further damage.
In addition, people with conditions that put them at risk for neurogenic shocks, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury, should receive prompt and appropriate medical care to minimise the risk of complications.
Finally, people who are at risk for neurogenic shock due to their occupation (e.g., first responders, military personnel) should receive comprehensive training on how to prevent and respond to this condition.
Ways to Avoid a Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury can be prevented in a number of different ways. One way is to use proper safety equipment when participating in activities that have a risk of causing this type of injury, such as wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
Additionally, it is important to avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can impair judgment and coordination, making it more likely to sustain a spinal cord injury in an accident.
Last but definitely not least, it is crucial to maintain good physical health and fitness, as this can help reduce the risk of falling and sustaining an injury.
First Aid for Neurogenic Shock
When someone goes into neurogenic shock, it is important to act quickly and call for medical help. In the meantime, there are some things that can be done as first aid.
For a person who is conscious
It is important to keep the patient calm and comfortable. The patient should be lying down with their feet elevated, if possible. If they are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, it is important to make sure that they do not stand up too quickly.
If the person is unconscious
Follow DRSABCD. It is crucial to check their airway and make sure that they are breathing. If they are not breathing, CPR should be started. It is also important to monitor their pulse and keep them warm.
You can also take these steps to help ensure that the person gets the care they need as quickly as possible.
- Make the person sit down and rest.
- Loosen any tight clothing.
- Apply a cold compress to the forehead or back of the neck.
- Elevate the legs above heart level, if possible.
- Stay calm and reassure the person that help is on the way.
- If the person loses consciousness, you will need to start CPR.
To sum up, neurogenic shock is a condition that can occur when the nervous system is damaged. This damage can cause the body to go into shock, which can lead to organ failure and death. Neurogenic shock can be caused by a number of things, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, or spinal cord injury. It is important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of neurogenic shock so that treatment can be given as soon as possible.
If you think you or someone else may be experiencing neurogenic shock, consult a doctor or head to the nearest emergency room. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and can lead to serious complications if not treated quickly.
In addition, Southport first aid practices can be useful in providing emergency care to casualties resulting from unwanted accidents in the workplace or in public places.