Chemotherapy 2008 10;54(1):63-6. Epub 2007 Dec 10.
Department of Pathology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Cervical actinomycosis with spinal cord compression is extremely rare. The clinical presentation of spinal actinomycosis may be nonspecific and back pain is the most consistent early symptom. Here, we present such a case with fever, pain in the neck and upper back, progressive weakness and numbness in all 4 limbs with difficulty ambulating, constipation and uroschesis. Correct diagnosis is difficult because the clinical and radiological findings of actinomycosis closely resemble metastatic tumors and other infectious processes. Timely surgical debridement and decompression contributed to the prompt improvement of the patient's conditions, and histopathological demonstration of the inflammatory granulation tissue and Gram-positive sulfur-containing filamentous bacteria led to the correct diagnosis of actinomycosis. The diagnosis must be made promptly because delayed treatment can result in irreversible neurologic damage or death. Timely and long-term antibacterial therapy is essential for the complete recovery of the patient with actinomycosis.
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