A nurse is assessing a patient twenty minutes after a lumbar puncture. The patient reports 6/10 lower back pain that is tender on palpation and motor weakness in both legs.  Which is the appropriate intervention?


• Lumbar puncture places the patient at high risk for complications, one of which is a subdural or epidural hematoma. Bleeding in the subdural or epidural space mechanically compresses the spinal cord, affecting sensation and movement. Compression of lumbar spinal roots may cause cauda equina syndrome and lower extremity paresis. Deficits progress over minutes to hours.

• Prompt intervention is critical, so this finding should be reported to the physician immediately.

• Taking deep breaths, range of motion exercises, and administering analgesics will not treat the complication.

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