What are the complications of diphtheria?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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See the list below:

  • Respiratory failure due to pseudomembrane formation or aspiration, tissue edema, and necrosis

  • Cardiac - Myocarditis, cardiac dilatation and failure, mycotic aneurysm, endocarditis

  • Rhythm disturbances - Heart block, including AV dissociation and dysrhythmias

  • Secondary bacterial pneumonia

  • Cranial nerve dysfunction and peripheral neuropathy, total paralysis

  • Septicemia/shock (rare)

  • Metastasis of infection to distant sites such as spleen, myocardium, or CNS (rare)

  • Death

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