Multilevel lumbar spine infection due to poor oral hygiene
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Although spinal infections have been reported following dental procedures, development of a spinal infection attributed to poor dentition without a history of a dental procedure in an immunocompetent adult has not been previously reported. Published in the Journal of medical case reports, the authors describe a case report of a multilevel lumbar spine infection that developed in an immunocompetent adult with poor dentition.

A 63-year-old white male man with past medical history of hypertension presented to a hospital emergency department with a 4-month history of progressively worsening low back pain. A musculoskeletal examination demonstrated diffuse tenderness in his lumbar spine area and the results of a neurological examination were within normal limits.

Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of his lumbar spine demonstrated a prevertebral and presacral fluid collection ventral to the L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 interspaces. Blood cultures grew pan-sensitive Streptococcus intermedius in four of four bottles within 45 hours. Using computed tomography guidance, three core biopsies of the L4 to L5 interspace were taken and subsequent cultures were positive for Streptococcus intermedius.

He reported that his last episode of dental care occurred more than 20 years ago and a dental panoramic radiograph demonstrated significant necrotic dentition. Ten teeth were extracted and the necrotic dentition was assumed to be the most likely source of infection.

On hospital dismissal, he received a 12-week course of intravenously administered ceftriaxone followed by an 8-week course of orally administered cefadroxil pending repeat imaging.

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