Research Article

Non-traumatic paraplegia in northern Tanzania.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 10 October 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:975
  1. E M Scrimgeour


    A retrospective study of all 100 cases of non-traumatic (medical) paraplegia admitted to a large hospital in northern Tanzania over an eight-year period was undertaken; 15 of the patients were examined. Patients' ages ranged from 2 to 80 years (mean 31), and 67 were male. Seventy-one lived under 85 km (53 miles) from the hospital, and the average period from onset of symptoms of paraplegia to admission to the referral hospital was ten weeks. Tuberculosis was the most frequent cause of paraplegia (54%), followed by neoplasia (13%) and schistosomiasis, (6%). No cases of nutritional myelopathy were diagnosed. In 12 cases a diagnosis could not be established. The average period spent in hospital was 11 weeks, and 35 patients made a good recovery and were ambulant at discharge.