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BET 2: Is sexual dysfunction a recognised sign of cauda equina syndrome in the ED?


A shortcut review of the literature was carried out to examine the association of sexual dysfunction in the context of new-onset low back pain, with cauda equina syndrome (CES). Five papers were identified as suitable for inclusion using the reported search strategy. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of the best papers are tabulated. It is concluded that clinicians appear to be poor at recording this feature during assessment, but between 12% and 96%, patients with confirmed CES will report the presence of new-onset sexual dysfunction at presentation when asked. It appears that this can also be a single isolated red flag feature in the context of low back pain and as such should be a mandatory part of any clinical assessment that seeks to evaluate the risk of impending CES.

  • emergency care systems

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