Cervical epidural analgesia complicated by epidural abscess: A case report and literature review

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Abstract

Rationale:

Spinal epidural abscess is an uncommon complication in clinical practice. If the abscess is large enough, the patient will rapidly develop neurologic signs of spinal injury, and urgent neurosurgical intervention may be required.

Patient concerns:

Rapid and correct diagnosis and treatment is important for spinal epidural abscess complication.

Diagnoses:

This report describes a cervical epidural abscess (CEA) caused by epidural analgesia, wherein the patient was punctured twice. A CEA was suspected based on the patient's significant neck pain and elevated white blood cell and neutrophil counts. A CEA from C6 to T8 was confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging scan.

Interventions:

The patient was treated with a combination of intravenous vancomycin and imipenem/cilastatin for more than 4 weeks.

Outcomes:

After more than 2 weeks of intensive antibiotic treatment, the epidural abscess gradually diminished in size, the white blood cell count, neutrophil count, hyperallergic C-reactive protein (CRP), and general CRP decreased, and the patient's neck and back pain resolved. After more than 4 weeks of anti-inflammation therapy, the epidural abscess was completely absorbed, and there was no relapse during the 3-month follow-up period.

Lessons:

Although an effective combination of intravenous antibiotics can cure an epidural abscess, caution is warranted when performing epidural steroid injections in immunocompromised patients.

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