Published In

BMC Health Services Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Subjects

Spinal epidural abscess (SEA) -- Treatments -- Case Studies

Abstract

Introduction: Spinal epidural abscess (SEA) is a rare and life-threatening infection with increasing incidence over the past two decades. Delays in diagnosis can cause significant morbidity and mortality among patients.

Objective: The objective of this study was to describe trends in time-to-imaging and intervention, risk factors, and outcomes among patients presenting to the emergency department with SEA at a single academic medical center in Portland, Oregon.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study analyzed data from patients with new SEA diagnosis at a single hospital from October 1, 2015 to April 1, 2018. We describe averages to time-to-imaging and interventions, and frequencies of risk factors and outcomes among patients presenting to the emergency department with SEA.

Results: Of the 34 patients included, 7 (20%) died or were discharged with plegia during the study period. Those who died or were discharged with plegia (n = 7) had shorter mean time-to-imaging order (20.8 h versus 29.2 h). Patients with a history of intravenous drug use had a longer mean time-to-imaging order (30.2 h versus 23.7 h) as compared to those without intravenous drug use. Patients who died or acquired plegia had longer times from imaging completed to final imaging read (20.9 h versus 7.1 h), but shorter times from final imaging read to surgical intervention among patients who received surgery (4.9 h versus 46.2 h). Further, only three (42.9%) of the seven patients who died or acquired plegia presented with the three-symptom classic triad of fever, neurologic symptoms, and neck or back pain.

Conclusions: SEA is a potentially deadly infection that requires prompt identification and treatment. This research provides baseline data for potential quality improvement work at the study site. Future research should evaluate multi-center approaches for identifying and intervening to treat SEA, particularly among patients with intravenous drug use.

Description

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI

10.1186/s12913-020-4973-5

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/32613

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