The Info List - Complication (medicine)

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COMPLICATION, in medicine , is an unfavorable evolution or consequence of a disease , a health condition or a therapy . The disease can become worse in its severity or show a higher number of signs, symptoms or new pathological changes, become widespread throughout the body or affect other organ systems. A new disease may also appear as a complication to a previous existing disease. A medical treatment, such as drugs or surgery may produce adverse effects and/or produce new health problem(s) by itself. Therefore, a complication may be iatrogenic , i.e., literally brought forth by the physician.

Medical knowledge about a disease, procedure or treatment usually entails a list of the most common complications, so that they can be foreseen, prevented or recognized more easily and speedily.

Depending on the degree of vulnerability, susceptibility, age , health status, immune system condition, etc. complications may arise more easily. Complications affect adversely the prognosis of a disease. Non-invasive and minimally invasive medical procedures usually favor fewer complications in comparison to invasive ones.

Disorders that are concomitant but are not caused by the other disorder are comorbidities . This conceptual dividing line is sometimes blurred by the complexity of the causation or the lack of definite information about it. The terms sequela and complication are often synonymous , although complication connotes that the resultant condition complicates the management of the causative condition (makes it more complex and challenging).


* 1 Examples of complications * 2 Causes * 3 Related topics * 4 References * 5 Further reading


* Generalized septicemia (infection of the blood) may occur as a complication of an infected wound or abscess * Allergic shock can be a reaction to several kinds of anesthetics , as a complication in a surgery * Fractured ribs and sternum may be a complication of cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts in people suffering severe osteoporosis * Puerperal fever may be a common complication of childbirth and used to kill a large proportion of mothers before the advent of antisepsis and antibiotics * Diabetes mellitus may present a series of complications in an advanced or more severe stage, such as gangrene , diabetic foot , blindness , infections , etc. * Thrombosis
in the heart or brain , causing stroke or acute myocardial infarction can be complications of blood coagulation disorders, phlebitis (inflammation of the veins ), endocarditis and artificial heart valves * Eczema vaccinatum is a rare and severe complication of smallpox vaccination in people with eczema * Hepatotoxic dementia is a possible complication of hepatitis and liver cirrhosis * Mental retardation is a common complication of untreated hydrocephalus * A paradoxical reaction to a drug; that is, a reaction that is the opposite to the intended purpose of the drug. An example is benzodiazepines , a class of psychoactive drugs considered minor tranquilizers with varying hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic , anticonvulsant , and muscle relaxant effects; paradoxically they may also create hyperactivity, anxiety, convulsions etc. in susceptible individuals. * Erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence which may follow prostatectomy .


There may be financial pressures which act in opposition to preventing complications. A United States study found that hospitals make more money per patient when patients have complications.


* Adverse effect (medicine) * Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals * Diagnosis * Iatrogenesis * Nocebo *