Clinical Features: A 52-year-old man had severe neck pain for 1 week. He had a long history of chronic recurrent neck pain, including 2 previous neck surgeries. He was afebrile on each visit, but developed rapid onset of motor loss, which necessitated immediate magnetic resonance imaging referral. The patient died in the magnetic resonance imaging tube.
Intervention and Outcome: Because of the aggressive nature of the infection, causing death only 1 week after the initial onset of symptoms, there was no opportunity to institute treatment of the abscess.
Conclusion: Spinal epidural abscess is a relatively rare but potentially life-threatening disorder in which the most common initial symptom is spinal pain. Because of this, patients with early spinal epidural abscess will often consult a chiropractic physician or other primary contact spine specialist. It is important for clinicians to be alert to the diagnostic features of spinal epidural abscess so that early treatment can be instituted.
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