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BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-009684
  • CASE REPORT

Retropharyngeal cellulitis in adolescence

  1. Naoki Yahagi2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Ohta Nishinouchi Hospital, Koriyama, Fukushima, Japan
  2. 2Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, The University of Tokyo, BunkyoKu, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ryota Inokuchi, inokuchir-icu{at}h.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Summary

A healthy 10-year-old boy presented with fever and progressively worsening sore throat and dysphagia. Physical examination showed pharyngeal erythema with tender left cervical lymphadenopathy. Radiography revealed 9 mm deep prevertebral soft tissues at the C2 level, and contrast-enhanced CT showed fluid collection with no major ring enhancement in the retropharyngeal space. He was diagnosed with retropharyngeal cellulitis and treated with intravenous antibiotics. Retropharyngeal cellulitis or abscess is a relatively rare infection in adolescents but is more frequent in 2–4-year-old children. Retropharyngeal cellulitis may rapidly extend caudally, with fatal consequences. For adolescents, physicians need to be aware of this clinical entity and carefully evaluate imaging findings even when only the mild pharyngeal physical findings are noted.

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