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November 1955

Clarification of the Problem of Vertebral Fractures from Convulsive Therapy: II. Roentgenological Considerations

Author Affiliations


From Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (13). Staff Psychiatrist (Dr. Newbury). Consultant in Roentgenology (Dr. Etter).

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(5):479-487. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330170013003

It is evident that we must have admission films of the thoracic spine of each patient if we are to evaluate correctly the question of vertebral fractures subsequent to convulsive therapy. Many of the patients will be found to show evidence of old disease or trauma, such as juvenile osteochondritis, degenerative arthritis, senile changes, and, possibly, fractures from accidental injuries or previous convulsive therapy.

Quite often we see a thoracic spine with exaggerated kyphosis (Fig. 1) which involves most of the middle and lower thoracic vertebral bodies. In such a case we think of this as representing the end-result of healed osteochondritis of childhood (kyphosis dorsalis juvenilis, or Calvé's disease of the spine).* The vertebral bodies present anterior wedging, increasing toward the center of the arch, similar to the appearance of a keystone at the apex. The reduction in vertical height of each involved vertebra is gradual in such cases,

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