The problem of acute abdominal disease during spinal shock

P. A. Tibbs, B. A. Bivins, A. Byron Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The use of diagnostic peritoneal lavage as a low-risk bedside tool may be helpful in assessing the presence or absence of acute intra-abdominal pathology during spinal shock. Acute abdominal emergencies cause about 10 per cent of all deaths in patients with spinal cord injuries, a rate far exceeding that of the general population. This high death rate is due to difficulty in detecting abdominal disease in the patient with acute traumatic myelopathy because of loss of sensory, motor and reflex function. The following case reports demonstrate the pitfalls in the interpretation of physical findings, laboratory data and radiographic studies in acute quadriplegia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-368
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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