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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Necrotizing Mediastinitis Following Dental Extraction: A Case Report


Introduction: Necrotizing mediastinitis is a rare complication following a dental procedure. It is frequently lethal and requires prompt diagnosis with advanced imaging, administration of broad-spectrum antimicrobials, and early surgical consultation.

Case Report: A 19-year-old, otherwise healthy male presented to the emergency department with chest pain, muffled voice, and facial and neck swelling six days following dental extraction. He was found to have a retropharyngeal abscess causing necrotizing mediastinitis and septic shock. The patient was started on broad-spectrum antimicrobials, required 10 surgical procedures, and experienced a prolonged hospitalization.

Conclusion: Consider necrotizing mediastinitis in patients presenting with chest pain and signs of retropharyngeal infection after dental procedures. Prompt imaging, antimicrobial therapy, and surgical consultation is critical in treating this frequently fatal disease.

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