Upper Cervical Epidural Abscess in a Patient With Parkinson Disease: A Case Report and Review

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Abstract

To our knowledge, there are no reports in the literature of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) developing upper cervical spine infections. Our objective is to present a case of upper cervical epidural abscess in a patient with PD and to review upper cervical spine infection. We present the patient’s presentation, physical examination, imaging findings, and management as well a review of the literature. A 66-year-old male with PD presented to the emergency department (ED) following referral by a neurologist for a presumed C2 fracture. The preceding history was 1 week of severe neck pain requiring a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which was initially interpreted as a C2 fracture. On admission from the ED, further review of the MRI appeared to show anterior prevertebral abscess and an epidural abscess. The patient’s neurological examination was at baseline. In the span of 2 days, the patient developed significant motor weakness. A repeat MRI demonstrated expansion of the epidural collection and spinal cord compression. Surgical management consisting of C1 and C2 laminectomy, irrigation, and debridement from anterior and posterior approaches was performed. Postoperatively, the patient did not recover any motor strength and elected to withdraw care and died. Spinal epidural abscess requires a high index of suspicion and needs prompt recognition to prevent neurological impairment. Upper cervical spine infections are rare but can lead to lethal consequences.

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