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Cauda Equina
Spotting Cauda Equina Syndrome Early

Spotting Cauda Equina Syndrome Early

Sudden and acute development of cauda equina syndrome with its key symptoms of urinary incontinence and saddle numbness means that diagnosis is likely to be straightforward. A gradual development of symptoms, however, may mean that the condition is harder to spot.

The need for prompt diagnosis

It is widely agreed that, the sooner a cauda equina syndrome diagnosis is made and treatment undertaken, the greater the chances of a good, long-term outcome for the patient.

Where diagnosis and treatment are delayed, however, the patient may be left with permanent urinary and faecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction and poor control of the lower limbs.

Where the condition is in its early stages, however, what should medical practitioners look out for and how should they respond?

Early Symptoms

The first signs of cauda equina syndrome might be lower back pain with leg pain caused by the compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spinal cord.

In themselves, these symptoms are not enough to suggest that the patient might have cauda equina syndrome - they could have sciatica - but it could be an indication that they will go on to develop it.

If the patient is also experiencing any alteration to their bowel or urinary function or any change in their sensation in the saddle area between the legs, this should increase concern about how their symptoms might develop and possible cause. This combination of symptoms should prompt the medical practitioner to refer the patient for further investigation as soon as possible.

An urgent referral for an MRI at this point may make the difference between a good recovery and a poor long-term outlook. Prompt action in response to these symptoms may mean that the patient receives decompression surgery before their symptoms deteriorate still further. The sooner surgery is carried out - there are arguments for surgery within 24 hours and 48 hours - the better the outcome is likely to be.

Failure to respond to early symptoms

If the medical practitioner does not enquire about additional symptoms, it may lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

If the patient is not warned about the development of these red flag symptoms, it may likewise lead to a devastating delay.

If the medical practitioner fails to refer where these symptoms are already in evidence or investigate the degree of such symptoms, they may be considered to be providing substandard medical care.

Legal Advice

Glynns Solicitors are a specialist medical negligence legal practice. Contact us if you have suffered from the shocking impact of cauda equina syndrome which you believe could have been diagnosed earlier. We can advise as to whether you could make a claim for compensation for substandard medical care.

Contact a medical negligence solicitor

Claims for negligence related to cauda equina syndrome are complex. If you feel your cauda equina syndrome may have been impacted by substandard care, contact Glynns Solicitors to discuss your concerns with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. We have extensive experience of supporting claims for cauda equina syndrome negligence.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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