Descending necrotizing mediastinitis

A. S. Estrera, M. J. Landay, J. M. Grisham, D. P. Sinn, M. R. Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

315 Scopus citations


From January 1975 through July 1981, 10 patients with mediastinitis complicating an oropharyngeal infection, that is, a form of mediastinitis best termed as DNM, were encountered at our institution. Based upon rather relatively stringent diagnostic criteria, 21 other instances were found in the literature from 1960 to 1980, a time period well into the antibiotic era. The predominant underlying oropharyngeal infection was of odontogenic origin, specifically, infection involving the mandibular molars. Bacteriologically, DNM is most frequently a polymicrobial process, with anaerobes playing a major role. Although there has been a decline in the over-all incidence of DNM since the introduction of antibiotics, its morbid and lethal nature persists, as evidenced by the present prohibitive mortality of approximately 42%. Delayed diagnosis and inadequate drainage procedures are the primary underlying factors contriburing to this high mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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    Estrera, A. S., Landay, M. J., Grisham, J. M., Sinn, D. P., & Platt, M. R. (1983). Descending necrotizing mediastinitis. Surgery Gynecology and Obstetrics, 157(6), 545-552.