Charcot joint of the spine, a cause of autonomic dysreflexia in spinal cord injured patients

F Selmi, H L Frankel, A P Kumaraguru, V Apostopoulos
Spinal Cord 2002, 40 (9): 481-3

STUDY DESIGN: Case report of two subjects.

OBJECTIVE: Charcot joints of the spine as a cause of Autonomic Dysreflexia in spinal cord lesions.

SETTING: Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK.

METHOD: Two patients with long standing spinal cord lesions developed symptoms of headaches and sweating associated with sitting up and transfers. In both cases no other cause was found to account for Autonomic Dysreflexia.

RESULT: Charcot Joints of the spine below the level of injury were demonstrated in both cases and symptoms resolved with prolonged bed rest.

CONCLUSION: As care of spinally injured patients continues to improve, they live longer and lead a more active lifestyle, it is expected that the incidence and prevalence of Charcot's joints will increase. Therefore the knowledge and heightened awareness of this entity, early diagnosis and detection with plain X-rays for urinary surveillance, may reduce the morbidity in spinal cord injured patients.

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