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Volume 34, Number 4, December 2001

Deep neck infections in children

Pei-Ti Tan, Luan-Yin Chang, Yhu-Chering Huang, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, Choa-Jan Wang, Tzou-Yien Lin
Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Children's Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, ROC



From December 1989 through 1998, a total of 68 children with deep neck infection were enrolled into this study. The mean age was 5.9 years (range, 1 month-15.8 years). Infections in the retropharyngeal space (36.7%) were most common, followed by parapharyngeal space (30.8%), peritonsillar space (20.6%), and submandibular space (11.9%). Fever, neck pain, and swelling were the most frequent symptoms. The most common pathogens were viridans streptococci (41%, 16/39) and Staphylococcus aureus (26%, 10/39). Other isolates included Prevotella spp., Veillonella spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Morganella spp., and Enterobacter spp. Mixed infection was found in 46% (18/39) of patients. The mean duration of hospitalization was 12.4 days (range, 2-45 days). Complete resolution was achieved in 61 (89.7%) children. Complications occurred in 7 patients, including recurrence, mediastinal spread, bacteremia, and suppurative thyroiditis; the patient with mediastinal spread plus bacteremia died. Five patients had congenital cyst and 4 of them had complications or recurrence/relapse. In conclusion, infections in the retropharyngeal space and polymicrobial infections were most common in deep neck infection of Taiwan children.



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2001;34:287-292.