Source:

Nursing2015

October 2005, Volume 35 Number 10 , p 8 - 8 [FREE]

Author

  • ANGELA MEAGHER RN, BScN

Abstract

 

In a recent article, you noted that immediate-release nifedipine shouldn't be given for acute episodes of extreme hypertension. I'd like to point out a condition that's an exception to this general rule: autonomic dysreflexia, a potentially fatal condition.

 

People with spinal cord injury at or above the level of the sixth thoracic vertebra are at risk for autonomic dysreflexia, which occurs when a noxious stimulus causes a constellation of autonomic responses, including hypertension. If the patient doesn't respond quickly to nonpharmacologic interventions, the practitioner may give an antihypertensive drug, such as nifedipine or a nitrate, in a form that ensures rapid onset and short duration of action. If nifedipine is given, it should be an immediate-release capsule and the patient should be instructed to bite and swallow it.

 

ANGELA MEAGHER, RN, BScN

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia