Interactive pathway to help diagnose and treat Cauda Equina Syndrome without delay is now live

GIRFT’s first interactive pathway – illustrating best practice for clinicians caring for patients suspected of having Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) – has now gone live. The easy-to-navigate, web-based tool is designed for use by clinicians, nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) at every stage of the CES patient pathway, from GP presentation to post-operative care. It guides users through examples of the processes and key decisions they should work through for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients in their care. Developed, reviewed and co-badged by a range of stakeholders – Royal Colleges, specialist societies and patient organisations – the new interactive version of the pathway can be used and bookmarked on all handheld and desktop devices, in a range of care settings.

"Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) can be devastating to a patient’s quality of life if the condition is not managed in a time efficient manner. Our interactive pathway means clinical teams can see best practice for diagnosis and treatment at the click of a button on their phone or device, which can aid timely decision making in a period when time is most critical. I urge everyone involved in the care of CES patients to look at the pathway and make sure it is saved somewhere where they can access it quickly and easily, to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.”

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a rare and serious spinal emergency which can lead to lower limb paralysis and loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function if not assessed and treated urgently. The condition affects 1-3 people per 100,000 population in England and there are around 8,000 suspected cases every year.

In February 2023, GIRFT worked collaboratively with a group of more than 60 health professionals to develop the pathway for suspected CES, which is now widely consulted by clinical teams to support diagnosis and treatment of the condition without delay, helping to improve patient outcomes. The interactive version has been developed to further enhance the usability of the pathway. It is supported by a detailed CES pathway guide, outlining when and how to carry out stages of the pathway, including best practice for referrals and imaging, surgical techniques, pain control and other post-operative support.

More than 1,200 people also attended a GIRFT webinar in March 2023 to discuss the pathway and ask questions. Watch the recording of our CES webinar.

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