What is the role of lab studies 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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See the list below:

  • CBC count, blood cultures, and preoperative lab studies. Leukocytosis is present in about two thirds of patients. [1]

  • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): In one report, the mean ESR was 51 mm/h. [13] ESR may be highly elevated.

  • Leukocytosis and ESR elevation are nonspecific laboratory findings and are not invariably present. Neither the presence of these findings nor the degree of laboratory abnormality is specific for spinal epidural abscess. [1]

  • A treatment guideline incorporating ESR, C-reactive protein, and other risk factors has been proposed based on a small patient series. [14]

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