Open Access, Peer Reviewed

Management of Deep Neck Space Infections in a Nigerian Referral Center

Abdullahi Musa Kirfi, Mohammed Bello Fufore, Umaru Sambo Grema, Adeyi Adogwu Adoga

Date of Publication: 2019-09-28


Background: Deep Neck Space Infections (DNSI) used to be a life-threatening infection especially during the pre-antibiotic era. The incidence of DNSI appears to be rising in both the developed and developing countries.

Methodology: A prospective observational study conducted over a 30 months period at a tertiary referral center. Ethical approval was obtained from the institution’s Ethics Committee. Informed consent obtained from participants and parents of minors. Relevant information generated, entered in to a proforma and analysed with SPSS version 20. Descriptive statistics was used to analyse the data.

Results: Fifty-five patients were diagnosed with deep neck space infections/abscesses during the period under review. Mean age of the patients was 31.7±22.56 years, minimum age was 4 months and maximum age was 90 years. Thirty (54.5%) males and 25(45.5%) females were seen with a male to female ratio of 1:0.83. The most affected age group was 18-29 years, constituting 25.5%. The most common presenting complaints were dysphagia 50(90.9%), neck pain 47(85.5%) and neck swelling 42(76.4%) while the least complaint was difficulty with breathing 9(16.4%). The commonest risk factor was tooth extraction/dental procedure seen in 29(52.7%) patients while foreign body impaction accounted for 2(3.6%) cases. Peritonsillar space was the commonest space involved 16(29.1%) while the least involved space was masticator space in 1(1.82%) patient.

Conclusion: DNSI of odontogenic origin is the commonest in this study resulting in poor clinical outcomes worsened by late presentation. Early diagnosis and treatment remain the pivot to realizing better outcomes.


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