Retro pharyngeal abscess (RPA) is an abscess located in the tissues in the back of the throat behind the posterior pharyngeal wall (the retropharyngeal space). Because RPAs typically occur in deep tissue, they are difficult to diagnose by physical examination alone. RPA is a relatively uncommon illness, and therefore may not receive early diagnosis in children presenting with stiff neck,malaise, difficulty swallowing, or other symptoms listed below. Early diagnosis is key, while a delay in diagnosis and treatment may lead to death. Parapharyngeal space communicates with retropharyngeal space and an infection of retropharyngeal space can pass down behind the esophagus into the mediastinum. RPAs can also occur in adults of any age.
RPA can lead to airway obstruction or sepsis - both life-threatening emergencies. Fatalities normally occur from patients not receiving treatment immediately and suffocating prior to knowing that anything serious was wrong
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http://www.hindawi.com/journals/criem/2012/943090/ sudhir b. sharma and paul hong, “ingestion and pharyngeal trauma causing secondary retropharyngeal abscess in five adult patients,” case reports in emergency medicine, vol. 2012, article id 943090, 5 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/943090
ogah os, owolabi mo, akisanya co. cervical spine tuberculosis and retropharyngeal abscess in an adult nigerian. ann trop med public health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2016 jul 18];5:587-90. available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2012/5/6/587/109286
samanta s, samanta s, aggarwal r, soni kd. airway compromise during central venous cannulation in an undiagnosed tubercular retropharyngeal abscess: a case report. ann card anaesth [serial online] 2015 [cited 2016 jul 18];18:596-8. available from: http://www.annals.in/text.asp?2015/18/4/596/166483
http://www.jemds.com/data_pdf/2_lokesh%20v.pdf vanajakshi c. lokesh, shivakumar g, krishna k, ravi d. “anaesthetic management of a two year old child with retropharyngeal abscess”. journal of evolution of medical and dental sciences 2014; vol. 3, issue 50, october 06; page: 11838-11841, doi: 10.14260/jemds/2014/3557
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2011/915163/ a. harkani, r. hassani, t. ziad, et al., “retropharyngeal abscess in adults: five case reports and review of the literature,” thescientificworldjournal, vol. 11, article id 915163, 7 pages, 2011. doi:10.1100/2011/915163
ogah os, owolabi mo, akisanya co. cervical spine tuberculosis and retropharyngeal abscess in an adult nigerian. ann trop med public health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2016 jul 22];5:587-90. available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2012/5/6/587/109286