Symptom duration and CT findings in pediatric deep neck infection

Abby C. Meyer, Tyler G. Kimbrough, Marsha Finkelstein, James D. Sidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate whether children with less than 48 hours of localized symptoms of deep neck infection are less likely to have an abscess on CT scan. Study Design: Case series. Subjects and Methods: The charts of children seen in a tertiary children's hospital for deep neck infections between 2000 and 2007 were reviewed. Results: Of 179 children identified, 167 (93.3%) underwent a CT scan of the neck of which 102 (61.1%) were positive for abscess. There was no significant difference in the rate of abscess on CT between children with less than 48 hours of localizing symptoms and 48 or more hours of symptoms at 58.1 percent and 58.3 percent, respectively (P = 0.98). Furthermore, there was no significant difference in age, gender, C-reactive protein levels, disease location, or length of stay between children with and without abscess on CT. White blood cell counts were significantly higher in the abscess group (P = 0.01); however, the median white blood cell count in both groups was above normal. Conclusion: Because duration of symptoms does not predict finding of abscess on CT, it is appropriate to obtain a CT scan upon presentation in all children with symptoms concerning for neck abscess.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-186
Number of pages4
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


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