Spondylodiskitis and epidural abscess caused by esophageal perforation due to a metallic stent

Case contributed by Dr Chris O'Donnell


Past history of inoperable oesophageal carcinoma (SCC) treated with overlapping oesophageal stents. Now severe interscapular pain for weeks, with low grade fever, CRP of 150 and WCC of 18,000. CT request states ? metastatic lesion to the spine.

Patient Data

Age: 70
Gender: Male

At the proximal end of the stent there is perforation of the esophageal wall with development of a paraspinal mass containing gas (indicating abscess) eroding the T2 and 3 vertebral bodies (and adjacent rib heads) via the disc space to enter the epidural space as evidenced by the presence of gas bubbles.

Case Discussion

Localized perforation of the esophagus due to a metallic stent is a well recognized complication. This is usually complicated by a mediastinum or paravertebral abscess as in this case often containing very unusual upper GIT organisms (may be multiple). The infection is often indolent but ultimately progressive and in this case has extended into the vertebral column via the disc space causing the bodies to collapse. Infection has then entered the epidural space. This usually has a fateful outcome.

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Case information

rID: 35525
Published: 9th Apr 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Chest, Spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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