Author(s): Danner RL, Hartman BJ
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Abstract Thirty-five cases of spinal epidural abscess were evaluated retrospectively and compared with 153 cases reported in the literature. As in other series, Staphylococcus aureus was the major pathogen. Patients with acute abscesses had fever, leukocytosis, and purulence at surgery. Patients with chronic abscesses had less fever and leukocytosis, more granulation tissue at surgery, and a greater delay in diagnosis but retained the potential for rapid neurologic deterioration. In contrast to other studies, abscesses in both the lumbar and anterior spinal compartments and patients with specific sources of infection occurred with greater frequency. Myelography was the diagnostic method of choice. Only four of nine patients had diagnostic computed tomography. Earlier diagnosis and treatment led to a significant improvement in outcome. Both steroid administration and greater neurologic impairment adversely affected outcome. Neurologic improvement following surgery was dependent on the duration of the deficit. A combination of antibiotics and surgical drainage remains the treatment of choice.
This article was published in Rev Infect Dis
and referenced in Advanced Techniques in Biology & Medicine