Descending Necrotizing Mediastinitis of Odontogenic Origin - Personal Experience and Literature Review
Descending necrotizing mediastinitis is the most severe form of mediastinal infection. The aim of the study was to present the optimal diagnostic and treatment approach to this severe, life-threatening condition.
Patients and methods: Three patients (men, aged 75, 73, and 63) with descending necrotizing mediastinitis hospitalised between April 2007 and February 2009 have been included in the study. The diagnosis of the condition was made based on cervico-thoracic computed tomography and surgical findings. The surgical treatment in each of the cases included bilateral longitudinal cervicotomy, transversal suprasternal cervicotomy and posterior-lateral thoracotomy.
Results: The period between the initiation of ambulatory treatment of the dental infection and diagnosing the mediastinitis was 9, 8 and 11 days, respectively. Engagement of all cervical spaces and mediastinal sections with polybacterial (three or more agents) dental infection, originating from third and fourth lower molars was present in each of the patients. Chronic alcoholism and diabetes are factors influencing the course of mediastinitis. The outcome in all the three patients was lethal (within 72 hours).
Conclusion: Success in the treatment of descending necrotic mediastinitis of odontogenic origin may be expected only in case of early diagnose and aggressive cervical and mediastinal drainage, performed by bilateral longitudinal cervicotomy and posterior-lateral thoracotomy.