Twenty-one cases of thoracic spinal epidural abscess occurring over a 10-year period were retrospectively reviewed. Diagnosis was made by MRI or myelography and confirmed in the operative cases. A bacterial agent was isolated in 18 of the cases (86%). When measured, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate was elevated in all cases. Four patients who presented without neurologic deficits remained intact. All patients who presented with neurological deficits underwent surgical intervention in addition to intravenous antibiotics. Of the 15 patients who presented with a paraparesis of less than antigravity strength, five eventually were independent ambulators and continent. A good outcome resulted in 80% of those who underwent decompression within 24 h, as opposed to only 10% of the patients decompressed after 24 h. Good results can be obtained despite severe neurologic compromise when treated by rapid diagnosis and decompression of the spinal canal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology