Clin Radiol 1976 (Jul); 27 (3): 341–353
Numerous references to spine abnormalities and associated somatic and/or visceral abnormalities are reported. An implication is present in each that the association is more than just coincidental and some cause and effect relationship might exist. A series of cases was collected in which congenital spine abnormalities were noted on roentgenograms from patients evaluated for varied reasons. Other roentgenograms of these patients and their medical records were reviewed in an attempt to find associated congenital abnormalities. Another group of patients with known congenital visceral malformations had their roentgenograms reviewed to see if they had spinal variations. It was found that patients with congenital vertebral malformations had an extremely high rate of associated visceral abnormalities, especially of the heart and kidneys. Other relationships between the spine and viscera include congenital lesions of the gastrointestinal and respiratory system and other parts of the renal system. This study also suggests the possible relationship between vesicoureteral reflux and spina bifida occulta. Embryologic considerations yield likely reasons for the relationships which have been suggested previously and are emphasised and augmented by this investigation. The supporting argument that a definite relationship exists between spinal variations and visceral abnormalities, as well as the embryologic reasons, is presented in this review of our selected cases and the appropriate literature.