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Red Flag Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a medical emergency. This means that treatment must be given as a matter of urgency, otherwise a patient will not be able to regain normal working function. That is why it is so important for medical professionals to recognise the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome, as this will ensure surgery is provided without delay.

What are the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

The red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) are all characteristic of spinal nerve damage, and together should alert medical professionals to the possibility of cauda equina compression. That is exactly why they are called ‘red flag’ symptoms, as they should act as a warning signal, prompting doctors into taking immediate action.

The red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome include the following:-

  • Chronic back pain;
  • Recent onset of bladder dysfunction;
  • Numbness in the perineum;
  • Loss of anal tone;
  • Weakness and poor reflexes in the legs.

How should medical professionals treat Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If a patient presents to their GP or Accident and Emergency department with these symptoms, it is essential the correct course of action is followed.

Firstly, it is highly important an accurate diagnosis is made in a timely fashion. There is no reason why a competent doctor should not be able to recognise the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Secondly, once a putative diagnosis of CES is made, medical professionals should take steps to discover whether or not their suspicions are correct. This should involve a series of tests, including a physical examination, blood and urine tests, and most importantly, an urgent MRI scan. Together these will help determine whether a patient does indeed have Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Lastly, if a positive diagnosis is made, a patient should be sent for emergency decompression surgery to alleviate the pressure being placed upon the nerves.

Failure to recognise the red flags symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

The aforementioned steps should be carried out without delay. It is generally accepted that surgery will prove largely ineffective after 48 hours (starting from the onset of symptoms), thereby leaving a patient with permanent neurological complications.

But sadly delays do occur, and this can regularly be attributed to the inability of medical professionals to recognise the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome. Indeed, all too often a patient who is displaying the red flag symptoms is instead diagnosed with a more minor condition, such as a urinary tract infection. This causes a delay in their diagnosis and treatment, resulting in serious, long-term problems.

If this has happened to you, in that a delay has caused you to suffer serious cauda equina complications, contact us today at 1stClaims to discuss making a compensation claim.

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