Spinal Epidural Abscess Complicated by Meningitis, Sepsis and Thrombocytopenia in a Patient Lacking Traditional Risk Factors

Clin Pract Cases Emerg Med. 2017 Mar 15;1(2):115-117. doi: 10.5811/cpcem.2016.12.33001. eCollection 2017 May.


Spinal epidural abscess is a rare diagnosis with a classic triad of fever, spinal pain and neurologic deficits. Only a small proportion of patients have all three findings, making the diagnosis challenging. Here we present a case of cervical and thoracic spinal epidural abscess complicated by meningitis, sepsis and thrombocytopenia in a patient lacking traditional risk factors. The patient was initially treated non-operatively secondary to thrombocytopenia but subsequently required transfer to a tertiary care facility for surgical drainage after clinical deterioration. This case report highlights the need for a high index of suspicion and low threshold for imaging when considering this rare but potentially deadly condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports