The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Quadriplegia is caused by damage to the spinal cord at a high level (e.g. cervical spine) or the brain. The injury causes the victim to lose use of the arms and legs. The condition is also termed tetraplegia; both terms mean "paralysis of four limbs".

There are about 5000 cervical spinal cord injuries per year in America, and about 1000 per year in the UK. In 1988, it was estimated that lifetime care of a 27-year-old rendered tetraparetic was about US$ 1 million and that the total national costs were US$ 5.6 billion per year.

Delayed diagnosis of cervical spine injury has grave consequences for the victim. About one in twenty cervical fractures are missed, and about two-thirds of these patients suffer further cord damage as a result. About 30% of cases of delayed diagnosis of cervical spine injury develop permanent neurological deficits.

In some rare cases, through intensive rehabilitation, slight movement can be regained, as in the case of actor Christopher Reeve.


Known quadriplegiacs

The following people are, or were, afflicted with quadriplegia:


  • Lincoln Rhyme - forensic expert featured in books by Jeffery Deaver.

Support organisations

Related conditions

See also

Last updated: 05-07-2005 05:28:24
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04