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July 26, 1993

Spinal Epidural Abscess: Optimizing Patient Care

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine, The Good Samaritan Hospital (Drs Maslen, Jones, and Crislip), The Providence Medical Center (Dr Dworkin), and The Oregon Health Sciences University (Drs Maslen, Jones, Crislip, and Dworkin), Portland, Ore. Drs Bracisand Flemming are in private practice in Portland, Ore.

Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(14):1713-1721. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410140107012

The medical literature regarding spinal epidural abscess has two common threads: reports of poor prognosis and appeals for rapid treatment. Spinal epidural abscess is a difficult diagnosis to make because of its rarity—many physicians will never see a case during their careers. Among all patients admitted to hospitals, the incidence is approximately one to two cases per 10 000. Only increased awareness and swift management of spinal epidural abscess will improve outcome. Our goal through this report is to enhance the recognition and treatment of spinal epidural abscess. We present 28 new cases of spinal epidural abscess, giving special attention to the peculiarities of the disease; we compile and analyze comprehenesive data from cases from literature; and finally, we present the results of 16 retrospective personal interviews of infected patients.

(Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:1713-1721)