Which factors increase the risk of complications from deep neck infections?

Updated: Apr 30, 2020
  • Author: Alan D Murray, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Several studies have looked at factors that may cause an increase in the risk of complications from deep neck space infections. [30] One study by Wang et al found a higher risk of complications in females, patients with neck swelling, and patients with associated respiratory symptoms. Another study by Huang et al suggests that diabetes and the presence of other underlying systemic diseases significantly increases the risk of complications. [31] This finding was supported in a study by Chen et al, who found that not only did diabetes correlate with a higher complication rate but that it was also associated with a more severe clinical course involving more than one deep neck space and a longer hospitalization. [32]

Using multivariate statistical analysis of 282 cases of deep neck infection, Staffieri et al concluded that in patients with such infections, the involvement of more than 1 neck space was the only significant independent prognostic factor for related complications. According to the study, the following factors were associated with long hospital stays [33] :

  • Presence of comorbidities

  • Nonodontogenic sites of origin

  • Leukocyte counts above 11.0 cells × 109/L at presentation

  • Need for both medical and surgical treatments

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