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Abscess of the medulla oblongata following endotracheal intubation
  1. S J L Payne1,
  2. S J Hickman2,
  3. R S Howard2
  1. 1Department of Medical Oncology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Neurology, St Thomas’s Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Payne
 Department of Medical Oncology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A UK; sarah_146{at}

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A 71 year old man was admitted for a myocardial infarction following which he was successfully resuscitated for a cardiac arrest secondary to ventricular fibrillation. He was intubated and ventilated in the peri-arrest period. After extubation, he complained of neck pain and dysphagia. A flexible laryngoscopy examination revealed an oedematous left larynx. He was subsequently lost to follow up. His symptoms worsened over the next 2 months. He lost 15 kg in weight and suffered fevers and night sweats.

On readmission, he was cachectic. He had discomfort on moving his neck. He had a chest wall abscess and a hard lymph node attached to the left trapezius muscle. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the neck revealed a large retropharyngeal abscess with osteomyelitis of the C1 and …

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  • Competing interests: none

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