Spinal epidural abscesses in children: A 15-year experience and review of the literature

J. J. Auletta, C. C. John

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations


We reviewed medical records and laboratory and diagnostic evaluations for 8 pediatric patients with spinal epidural abscesses who were treated during the last 15 years at our institution. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 5 of 8 epidural abscesses, including 2 abscesses with methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Unusual isolates were group B Streptococcus in a patient with chronic vesicouretral reflux associated with the posterior urethral valves and Aspergillus flavus in a patient with acute myelogenous leukemia. An analysis incorporating our results and a review of the English-language literature about abscesses in children and adults revealed differences related to age. Abscesses in children were more posterior in epidural location, had greater spinal column extension, and were associated with more favorable clinical outcomes than were abscesses in adults. Magnetic resonance imaging is the diagnostic procedure of choice; however, radionuclide bone scans should be considered for associated distant osteomyelitis in children. Prompt diagnosis and combined medical and surgical treatment remain the cornerstones for the prevention of adverse outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 24 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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