What is Quadriplegia and Paraplegia?

Ian C. Langtree Content Writer/Editor for Disabled World
Published: 2017/11/25 - Updated: 2023/08/19
Publication Type: Informative
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Definition of Quadriplegia and Paraplegia including interesting spinal cord injury (SCI) information and statistics. The clinical term incomplete when applied to spinal cord injury indicates that the patient has some sensory or motor function below the lesion level. A more controversial term relates to the word complete when applied to spinal cord injury.

Main Digest

Defining Paraplegia and Quadriplegia

What Does "Complete" and "Incomplete" SCI Mean?

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

The clinical term incomplete when applied to spinal cord injury indicates that the patient has some sensory or motor function below the lesion level. As defined recently in the International and American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury, the term has been given an even more specific meaning, indicating a person with preservation motor or sensory function in the last sacral segment (S4-5).

This definition gets around the problem often encountered in the clinical setting of a patient who has an injury at a given level, some preserved sensation or motor function or several segments, and then no function below that level. By defining incomplete as having some function at the lowest level of the spinal cord, the definition becomes unambiguous.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury

A more controversial term relates to the word complete when applied to spinal cord injury. By the ASIA definition, a person that does not have preserved sacral sensory or motor function should be complete. Unfortunately, the term has connotations of complete loss and a finality that is not desirable. Some patients with complete loss of neurological function below the lesion level may still recover several segments, especially when treated shortly after injury."

Facts and Major Causes of SCI

Marital status at injury:

5 years post-injury:

Employment status among persons between 16 and 59 years of age at injury:

(includes: students, retired, and homemakers)

Employed 8 years post-injury:

Except for the incomplete-Preserved motor (functional), no more than 0.9% fully recover, although all can improve from the initial diagnosis.

The length of stay and hospital charges for acute care and initial rehabilitation are higher for cases where admission to the SCI system is delayed beyond 24 hours.

Average length of stay:

Source of payment acute care:

Ongoing medical care: (Many people have more than one source of payment.)

Mortality rates are significantly higher during the first year after injury than during subsequent years. The most common cause of death is respiratory ailment, whereas, in the past, it was renal failure. Most people with neurologically complete lesions above C-3 die before receiving medical treatment. Those who survive are usually dependent on mechanical respirators to breathe. Overall, 85% of SCI patients who survive the first 24 hours are still alive 10 years later, compared with 98% of the non-SCI population given similar age and sex. An increasing number of people with SCI are dying of unrelated causes such as cancer or cardiovascular disease - similar to that of the general population.

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Cite This Page (APA): Langtree, I. C. (2017, November 25). What is Quadriplegia and Paraplegia?. Disabled World. Retrieved April 17, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/spinal/qp.php

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