NEW ORLEANS—Colonoscopic lesions were found in 93% of veterans with traumatic spinal cord injury who had a colonoscopy for their gastrointestinal complaints, according to a study presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
The most common lesion types were diverticulae, internal hemorrhoids, and polyps. Among veterans with gastrointestinal complaints, the incidence of total colonoscopic lesions increased with age, regardless of whether the veterans had traumatic spinal cord injury.
Detecting Colonoscopic Lesions After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury
Meheroz H. Rabadi, MD, a neurologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and his colleagues retrospectively reviewed medical charts to determine the type and prevalence of colonoscopic lesions in veterans with traumatic spinal cord injury who were age 50 or older and had undergone colonoscopy for complaints of abdominal pain, as well as rectal discomfort and bleeding.
The investigators identified 71 eligible patients (70 men) who had been enrolled in the spinal cord registry of a tertiary care Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 2005 and 2009. Patients’ mean age was 62; eight patients were African American, three were Native American, and the others were Caucasian.
The mean age of traumatic spinal cord injury onset was 36, and the mean time elapsed since injury was 28 years. Thirty-five patients had been injured at the cervical level, 28 at the thoracic level, and eight at the lumbosacral level. The most common levels of impairment were level A (28 patients), level C (16 patients), and level D (16 patients), as measured by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale.
In 32 patients, a motor vehicle accident caused the spinal cord injury. A fall caused spinal cord injury in 17 patients, and a gunshot caused the injury in 11 patients. Many patients also had various vascular risk factors, including hyperlipidemia, which was observed in 61% of patients, hypertension, which was seen in 58% of patients, and diabetes mellitus, which was seen in 32% of patients.