Diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome in the emergency department

Emerg Med J. 2023 Nov;40(11):787-793. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2023-213151. Epub 2023 Sep 5.


Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a spinal emergency that can be challenging to identify from among the many patients presenting to EDs with low back and/or radicular leg pain. This article presents a practical guide to the assessment and early management of patients with suspected CES as well as an up-to-date review of the most important studies in this area that should inform clinical practice in the ED.

Keywords: diagnosis; spinal; spine.

MeSH terms

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Cauda Equina*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pain