The records of 145 paraplegic or quadriplegic patients were reviewed to identify those factors useful in the correct diagnosis of the acute abdomen in this population. Twenty-one patients had 22 episodes of acute or subacute abdominal problems. Presenting complaints, physical findings, and laboratory results were useful in various ways. However appropriate radiographic studies led to the correct diagnosis in 77% of patients. Although paraplegic and quadriplegic patients are predisposed to a distinct constellation of medical problems, including urinary tract infection and calculi, they also may present with other abdominal conditions that cause significant morbidity and mortality if not promptly recognized.
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