A sequela (UK: /sɪˈkwlə/,[1] US: /sɪˈkwɛlə/;[2][3] usually used in the plural, sequelae) is a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma. Typically, a sequela is a chronic condition that is a complication which follows a more acute condition. It is different from, but is a consequence of, the first condition. Timewise, a sequela contrasts with a late effect, where there is a period, sometimes as long as several decades, between the resolution of the initial condition and the appearance of the late effect.

In general, non-medical usage, the terms sequela and sequelae mean consequence and consequences.[4]

Examples and uses

Chronic kidney disease, for example, is sometimes a sequela of diabetes, "chronic constipation" or more accurately "obstipation" (that is, difficulty in passing stool) is a sequela to an intestinal obstruction, and neck pain is a common sequela of whiplash or other trauma to the cervical vertebrae. Post-traumatic stress disorder may be a psychological sequela of rape. Sequelae of traumatic brain injury include headache and dizziness, anxiety, apathy, depression, aggression, cognitive impairments, personality changes, mania, psychosis.

Some conditions may be diagnosed retrospectively from their sequelae. An example is pleurisy.

Other examples of sequelae include those following neurological injury; including aphasia, ataxia, hemi- and quadriplegia, and any number of other changes that may be caused by neurological trauma. Note that these pathologies can be related to both physical and chemical traumas, as both can cause lingering neuron damage.

The phrase status post, abbreviated in writing as s/p, is used to discuss sequelae with reference to their cause. Clinicians typically use the phrase to refer to acute traumatic conditions. For example: "the patient had neck pain status post a motor vehicle accident".

Rheumatic fever is a nonsuppurative sequela of a primary infection of group A Streptococcus bacteria. Glomerulonephritis can also be a non-suppurative sequela of Streptococcus pyogenes.[5][6]


  1. "sequela: definition of sequela in Oxford dictionary (British & World English) (US)". Retrieved 2014-10-30.
  2. "sequela: definition of sequela in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Retrieved 2014-10-30.
  3. from Latin sequela, from sequi ("follow")
  4. sequela Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  5. Todar, Kenneth. "Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcal Disease". Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  6. "Rheumatic fever". A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. PubMed Health. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
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