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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 513920, 5 pages
Case Report

Insidious Onset of Tetraparesis due to Cervical Epidural Abscess from Enterococcus faecalis

11st Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Athens, Attikon University General Hospital, 1 Rimini Street, 12462 Chaidari, Greece
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA

Received 2 December 2012; Accepted 20 February 2013

Academic Editor: Jeffrey C. Wang

Copyright © 2013 Konstantinos Chr. Soultanis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report a case of cervical epidural abscess from Enterococcus faecalis, which caused an insidious onset of tetraparesis. This 53-year-old female with a history of diabetes mellitus and chronic renal failure under hemodialysis presented with pain and progressive weakness of upper and lower extremities without fever. Although a recent MRI she did at the beginning of symptoms showed no significant pathologies, except for a cervical disc herniation and adjacent spinal degeneration, and stenosis that confused the diagnostic procedure, newer imaging with CT and MRI, which was performed due to progression of tetraparesis, revealed the formation of a cervical epidural abscess. Surgical drainage was done after a complete infection workup. The patient showed immediate neurological improvement after surgery. She received antibiotics intravenously for 3 weeks and orally for another 6 weeks. The patient was free from complications 24 months after surgery. A high index of suspicion is most important in making a rapid and correct diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess. The classic clinical triad (fever, local pain, and neurologic deficits) is not sensitive enough for early detection. Continuous clinical, laboratory, and imaging monitoring are of paramount importance. Early diagnosis and surgical intervention could optimize the final functional outcome.