Introduction: The term descending necrotizing mediastinitis (MND) refers to an infection that begins in the oropharyngeal region and spreads through the fascial planes into the mediastinum. This study aims to estimate the incidence of MND in our centre, the epidemiology and clinical features of the disease and to evaluate prognostic factors influencing mortality.
Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective study on 43 consecutive patients diagnosed at the Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona from January 1996 to December 2006. We performed a descriptive study and a bivariate and a multivariate analysis of variables collected.
Results: Overall mortality was 21%, but when we subdivided the study into two periods (1996-2000 and 2001-2006) it shows a significant decrease (40% versus 4.3%). Risk factors identified in the bivariate analysis were: diagnosis period 1996-2000, diabetes mellitus, comorbidity, number of surgeries, left lateral surgery, postoperative morbidity and septic shock. In multivariate analysis, only the presence of septic shock proved to be an independent predictor of mortality.
Conclusions: MND is a disease of low incidence and should be suspected clinically and confirmed immediately with a computed tomography (CT). Multidisciplinary and early treatment has allowed us to reduce mortality by 40% in the first initial period to 4.3% today.
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