Infant cervical spondylodiscitis and abscess.

Rita Belo Morais, Vivian Gonçalves, Inês Pedro, Maria Alexandra Costa, Fernando Durães, Guimarães Consciência


Spondylodiscitis in childhood is rare and has non-specific clinical features, requiring a high index of suspicion.The authors describe a nine month-old female infant, who presented at the emergency room (ER) with a torticollis for four days, without fever or trauma. Cervical X-rays were normal, and she received symptomatic treatment. Six days after, she returned to the ER with the same torticollis and also irritability, anorexia, and cervical hyper-extension. The CT scan showed cervical spondylodiscitis (C6-C7) with pre-vertebral abscess. The laboratory results only revealed a slightly elevated Sedimentation Rate. Treatment was systemic vancomycin, gentamicin and metronidazol for six weeks, followed by two weeks of oral flucloxacillin. The causative organism was not identified. The symptoms and the abscess resolved during the first week of treatment. Five days after finishing the antibiotics the magnetic resonance showed partial C6-C7 fusion, without neurologic compression or functional disability.Cervical spondylodiscitis with abscess is rare, especially in this age group. This case also emphasizes the importance of investigating an acquired persistent torticollis.

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