oa Central African Journal of Medicine - A retrospective study on the aetiology of paraplegia in Rhodesian Africans

Volume 21, Issue 12
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



A 100 random cases of paraplegia admitted to Harare Central Hospital during the period 1972-1973 were reviewed. There were 34 cases of trauma, 21 tuberculosis, 19 neoplastic and in 26 cases of miscellaneous causes, in 15 of which the cause was uncertain. The bladder was involved in 58 per cent. Of cases and the rectum in 37 per cent. However, 74 per cent. of the traumatic paraplegias were incontinent of urine. The preponderance of lesions in thoracic spine as has been reported in many series, was confirmed. The presence of a gibbus makes the diagnosis of tuberculosis very likely: The erythroyte sedimentation rate was found to be a poor guide as to the cause of paraplegia although it is of good prognostic value in the follow up of cases. Radiological findings were most helpful in the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

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