What causes errors in the diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess?

Updated: Jul 12, 2018
  • Author: J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Errors in diagnosis of spinal epidural abscessesare common and involve inadequate history, physical examination, and test ordering. According to one study of retrospective chart reviews of 250 randomly selected patients, 119 had a new diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess, 66 (55.5%) of which experienced diagnostic error. Red flags that were frequently not evaluated in error cases included unexplained fever, focal neurological deficits with progressive or disabling symptoms, and active infection. [12]

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