AskDefine | Define sequela

Dictionary Definition

sequela n : any abnormality following or resulting from a disease or injury or treatment; "paralysis is one of the sequelae of poliomyelitis" [also: sequelae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin sequela, from sequi ‘follow’.


  • /sɪ'kwi:lə/


  1. a disease or condition which is caused by an earlier disease or problem
    • 1970: Complications: haematoma formation is a dangerous sequela of this operation, and careful drainage with polythene tubing was carried out. — JG Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition
    • 1973: ‘Ay, ay,’ said Stephen testily, ‘it is showy enough to look at, no doubt, but these are only the superficial sequelae. There is no essential lesion.’ — Patrick O'Brian, HMS Surprise
    • 2003: Self-dosing brought emotional and physical sequelae of its own. — Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason (Penguin 2004, p. 407)

Extensive Definition

A sequela, (, plural sequelæ) is a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, or other trauma. Chronic kidney disease, for instance, is sometimes a sequela of a food-borne illness; post-traumatic stress disorder may be a psychological sequela of rape.
Typically, a sequela is a chronic condition that is a complication of an acute condition that begins during the acute condition. This is in contrast to a late effect.
Sequelae of traumatic brain injury include headache and dizziness, anxiety, apathy, depression, aggression, cognitive impairments, personality changes, mania, psychosis. These may also result from ECT (Electro convulsive therapy).
There are also sequelae which occur as a result of treatment for a disease. For instance, one sequela resulting from chemotherapy used to treat cancer may be "toxic peripheral neuropathy", a painful chronic condition which is usually controlled with medication. Not everyone who is treated with chemotherapy develops toxic peripheral neuropathy but it may occur.

See also

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